PHILADELPHIA- (July 31st, 2014) Senator Vincent Hughes issued the following statement in response to news that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has cancelled scheduled session days for next week:
“The failure of the Pennsylvania State House to return means in very real terms that the Philadelphia School District will lose $1.6 million for every week that the cigarette tax is not passed. That is money that the school district desperately needs in order to just maintain an educational environment that is barely sufficient to prepare children for the 21st century.
“It was expected that the House would pass House Bill 1177, which would have included authorization of an increase in Philadelphia’s cigarette tax. The Pennsylvania Senate stood ready to return later in the week to vote on the legislation if it was amended by the House.
“This lack of action is catastrophic, since both Mayor Michael Nutter and Superintendent Dr. William Hite have said that our schools will not be able to safely open in September without additional funds.
“Some lawmakers have floated the idea of advancing future payments already scheduled to be made to the Philadelphia School District, but this is not a real solution. It also leaves the district with an equal hole that must be filled. We need lawmakers to return to Harrisburg and do what is right for Philadelphia schools.”
Senator Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is also the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.