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Pa. House passes $2-per-pack Philly cigarette tax on to Senate — NewsWorks

In a 114-84 vote, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Monday once again approved the $2-per-pack Philadelphia cigarette tax for city schools.

The measure could get a vote in the Senate as soon as Wednesday. Gov. Tom Corbett has pledged to sign the bill upon passage.

The Philadelphia School District is counting on the cigarette tax to generate $49 million this fiscal year to avoid a slate of more than 1,000 layoffs that district officials warn would turn schools into "empty shells."

In order to generate this revenue, the district says collections must begin by Oct. 1.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, assured school Superintendent William Hite in August that the district could count on cigarette tax revenue by October.

The House first passed the cigarette tax on July 2, but disagreements with the Senate over unrelated items trapped the omnibus measure in a game of legislative pingpong.

That game may not yet be over.