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Pa. State Senate Dems Propose $300M Fix For Education Statewide

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Democrats representing Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania state senate say they have a way to generate more money for education, without a major tax increase.

The plan from the Philadelphia Democrats would generate $300 million for schools statewide, including $90 million more for Philadelphia.   It includes using savings from an expansion of Medicaid, modernizing liquor sales, freezing the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax on businesses, and taxing smokeless tobacco.

Some of those ideas were floated last year, but Philadelphia teachers' union head Jerry Jordan says districts across the state are feeling the pinch now.

"It's very different this time, and this year, because it's not just Philadelphia.  This is a prioblem across the entire commonwealth," Jordan said.

Will the plan find support in a Republican-controlled legislature?  State senator Vincent Hughes (D-Phila., at lectern in photo) says education funding is the top concern among voters.

"Next Tuesday the governor's going to do his budget proposal.  And we'll compare his concept versus our concept.  And then it's off to the races," Hughes says.


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