Nutter proposes more taxes on cigarettes, booze to fund schools

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Mayor Nutter has proposed raising taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic drinks served in the city to pay for increasing school costs. (Photo: uofmhealth.org)

Mayor Nutter is proposing a new $2 per pack cigarette tax and a 5 percentage-point increase in the city’s “liquor by the drink” tax to fund the School District’s request for $60 million more in city funding.

Those measures would get the schools $67 million in new revenue. He’s also promising $28 million from improved revenue collection on existing schools taxes for a total of $95 million in new tax revenue.

The tax measures would require enabling legislation from Harrisburg plus approval from City Council, both of which are far from sure things.

Nutter said that funding the beleaguered School District, which has also asked for $120 million from the state and $123 in labor concessions, should be a top priority for elected officials.

“Now it’s time for our political leaders to step up or step aside,” Nutter said at a press conference Wednesday.

Nutter said he invited all 17 members of City Council to the announcement. None joined him at the podium. Councilman Mark Squilla was in the audience.

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