School protests hit Phila. Council's last session

June 20, 2013 3:09:29 PM PDT
The end of the regular session for Philadelphia City Council brought a temporary close to discussion about Philadelphia's financially troubled schools... For now.

Protesters, many of them parents, chided Philadelphia City Council for not doing enough. Council has promised $75 million more for the schools, much of it from a hike in the cigarette tax. It's a move that depends on Harrisburg agreeing to it.

But the protesters wanted more, a Philadelphia-only lifeline: A hike in a local business tax called "Use and Occupancy."

Further frustrating protesters was the fact that many were kept outside of the City Council chambers, even though there was room inside.

The Use and Occupancy tax hike, which is opposed by commercial interests, was not going to come up today no matter what the protesters said. They left not pleased with their elected representatives.

Later the City Council President Darrell Clarke said that he understood the protestors' frustration, but explained that in the complicated world of Philadelphia-Harrisburg politics, the Use and Occupancy tax hike could jepordize the city's plan for a cigarette tax.


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