Philly School Officials: Without Tobacco Tax Hike, We Can't Open

Smoke up-for the children!-in Philly



When the continued operation of your city's public school system turns on taxing tobacco, you might be doing it wrong. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Philadelphia.

The city's school superintendent, William Hite, is admonishing Republican legislators in the statehouse for stalling on a proposed Philadelphia cigarette tax increase. "I'm annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated, because we're at a point two weeks before we have to make some operational decisions to educate children," Hite said. Without the cigarette tax money, he claims 1,300 layoff notices will go out August 15. 

The Pennsylvania House was set to vote on the $2-per-pack tax increase Monday. But House GOP leadership canceled the vote at the last minute, citing a lack of consensus. 

Philly Mayor Michael Nutter also blasted legislators for this. "Philadelphia schools will not be able to open on time and safely, because they chose not to come and do their jobs," Nutter told CBS Philly.

It is an absolute disgrace what is going on here and no other school district in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, no other set of parents, no other county, no other school district, would ever be subjected to this kind of nonsense and irresponsibility as we are now experiencing today based on the announcement that was made.

Perhaps instead of casting shade left and right, Mayor Nutter might want to consider why the School District of Philadelphia is so mismanaged and hopeless that it won't even be able to open without a massive emergency cash infusion? Then again, crafting sustainable solutions is so tedious. Much easier just to raise taxes on groups generally disliked. 

For more on Philadelphia school mismanagement, see Ed Krayewski on how the city is discouraging charter school attendance and Ethan Roberts on how Hite is fighting to keep teacher tenure. 


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  1. The school should give each kid a carton of smokes and have them sell them door to door to raise money, just like they do with candy or oranges or whatever. It’s essentially the same thing, and would cut out the middleman. Plus it would be more honest.

    1. Or they could just attack people who quit smoking.

      1. They should allow the kids to smoke in high schools. These are the future taxpayers of America, allegedly.

    2. As long as they don’t try to sell any loosies around NYPD.

  2. “Philly School Officials: Without Tobacco Tax Hike, We Can’t Open”

    Promises, promises…

  3. Without the cigarette tax money, he claims 1,300 layoff notices will go out August 15.

    Here’s a tip, lay off all the people whose titles begin with “vice” or “assistant” first and see where you are.

  4. 1,300 layoff notices will go out August 15

    Sounds like a good start.

  5. That’s right, the racist Republicans won’t create high cigarette taxes which the cops will be able to enforce by choking people to death in a don’t-you-dare-call-it-a-chokehold!

    Why do Republicans hate black people?

    1. Because they’re copycats.

  6. But we should definitely impose carbon taxes, because a tax ostensibly intended to extinguish (nyuck nyuck) itself is the smart way to regulate. And, as revenues fall, the people in charge of taxing carbon can just find another socially harmful target.

    1. Well, the whole concept of taxing addictive substances has to proceed from the idea that the addiction would be stronger than the damping effect of taxes. But its not. I’d still smoke if the taxes weren’t nearly $4/pack. As it is, I have to be pretty goddamn drunk to forget that each coffin nail is putting about $0.20 in the pocket of the State.

  7. The more unhinged they get over cigarette taxes, the sooner the whole charade will fall apart.

    BTW, one of the dwindling pleasures of living on the East Coast is how easy it is to find another jurisdiction to buy cheaper smokes.

  8. So I’m a little confused here. Are we taxing cigarettes to make people stop smoking so they don’t drain our precious public health penaltax dollars? Or are we taxing cigarettes because TEH CHILDRUNS transforms the immoral act of taxing addicts moral?

  9. How about a $5/mo. tax on cable/satellite TV service? No less stupid, and at least I could make a tenuous connection to goals of education.

    Plus it would be a broader (wider, not more women-y) tax base.

  10. “Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. It’s for the children!”

  11. And this is why there is so much hate for e-cigs. All the nicotine, none of the tar and taxes.

  12. I’m confused. Does no one pay PROPERTY TAXES in the City of Brotherly Graft or the Commonwealth of PA?

    Because I’m pretty sure PROPERTY TAXES are supposed to pay for public education…right? Not cigarette taxes.

    I don’t know why Philadelphia bothers to send its children to school anyway. It’s not like they’ll have much of a future in Philly, unless they want to stand around outside polling places dressed up like Huey Newton.

  13. Should pass a law requiring all politicians to be named Nutter.

    1. I’m astonished this wasn’t mentioned sooner.

  14. Well, so far, more money can’t possibly be the answer. They are taking in more money than they ever have and it’s never enough! I say let them lay off. Besides, I thought the cigarette tax was suppose to pay for health care and prevention? How in the hell is it now used for the schools to balance their budget? And quit using the children’s education as a hostage every time you want more money. If I had kids still in school, I would be using online schools and quit the public system. They are not worth the money they receive and parents don’t have much voice with them either.

  15. Remember, when you want tax money you threaten to fire your most important people. Who’s gonna rally to your side because you threaten not to replace the diversity bathroom murals for the third time this week (which is of course a shovel ready jobs program)?

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