One of two bills proposed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, to raise money for the cash-strapped Philadelphia School District, was approved Thursday.
City Council unanimously (16-0) approved a new $2-per-pack cigarette tax hike. If the new tax is approved by lawmakers in Harrisburg, the average cost for a pack of cigarettes would increase from $5.85 to $7.85. The new tax would generate an additional $45 million for the district.
Nutter proposed generating about $95 million for Philadelphia public schools through higher taxes on alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, and businesses for the 2013-2014 school year.
City Council declined to vote on a bill Wednesday that would increase the liquor-by-the-drink tax from 10 percent to 15 percent -- which would bring in $20 million to the district.
The Philadelphia School District announced last week that approximately 3,800 employees were being laid off due to a $304 million budget deficit. The cuts also include eliminating art, music and athletic programs. Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite asked for $60 million in new funds from the city and $120 million from the state.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg are working to approve the state budget which is due on June 30.