Council President Darrell L. Clarke said Council members would not vote Wednesday to move a bill increasing the liquor-by-the-drink tax, raising money that would be put toward closing the school district's budget gap, but he refused to declare the proposal dead.
He reiterated several times that the liquor tax and a proposal to create a cigarete tax for the schools' benefit both need state approval. He told reporters that, if that approval came, Council might look differently at the liquor tax.
"It doesn’t matter what we do in here," Clark said. "If they don’t do what they need to do in Harrisburg, we can’t put money on the table for the schools at the level we would like."
He later told an audience full of parents and schools supporters that "there might be some contingency language" added to the bill later.
It's unclear how the liquor tax could be passed before Council's June 20 summer recess, since the bill would have to be read in two Council meetings. There are only two left, including the one on Thursday. If the bill is not moved out of committee Wednesday, it can not be read at Thursday's meeting.
Council nonetheless has been taking testimony on the bill for nearly two hours.
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