Philly Cigarette Tax Moves Closer to Approval

House Committee gives approval to a "clean" bill.

A legislative spokesman passes along the following:

Just wanted to provide a quick update on where things stand with Philly schools. House Bill 1177, which contains the Philly $2-pack cigarette tax, was just voted out of the House Rules Committee by an overwhelming majority. The bill was also amended and stripped of all language related to the CRIZ and hotel taxes. It is now a “clean bill” that can be voted on the PA House floor in 24 hours.

At this point, we expect that the House will pass the bill tomorrow and it will be considered by the PA Senate early next week.

So far so good. Now comes the tough part.

As Newsworks pointed out earlier this week, the Senate has already passed a bill containing the tax — but that bill is larded down with other amendments, as well. “A potential problem is that Senate leaders may want to stick with the bill as they’ve already passed it. That iteration includes provisions that allow hotel taxes to be hiked in counties such as York, and allows cities including Scranton and Erie to apply for community revitalization improvement zone or CRIZ funding.”

It’s uncertain whether the Senate would pass the un-amended “clean” version It seems we’re about to find out.