Yesterday, Senate Republicans and Philadelphia Mayoral hopeful Anthony Hardy Williams granted Tom Corbett his wishes – holding the Philadelphia School District hostage for his made up Pension Busting Plan. During the Pennsylvania budget debacle, Governor Tom Corbett said he won’t sign the budget and the Philadelphia Cigarette Tax, which would have given the PSD $45,000,000 in funding, unless the General Assembly gave him meaningful pension busting reform.
Governor Corbett’s pension busting plan died in the Pennsylvania House last week and House Leader Mike Turzai said that that issue won’t come up until the House returns in the fall. So what does the Senate GOP and Philadelphia Mayoral hopeful Anthony Williams do? Instead of voting on the same fucking bill that Pennsylvania House gave them and giving the Philadelphia School District the funding it needs to open up the doors in the fall, the Senate GOP and Anthony Williams – the only Democrat – voted for an amendment that would turn the cigarette tax into a 5 year pilot program. Many speculate that this amendment was conjured up by the tobacco lobby, but with that amendment attached to the bill the House sent back to the Senate for final approval, the Philadelphia School District will have to find a way to cover it’s shortfall and open their doors in the fall. The larger context of this bill waiting for House approval in the fall means that there will be a showdown and asking Democratic House members to swapping votes for pension reform and funding for the Philadelphia School District.
So congrats Anthony Hardy Williams, you were the only Democrat to support an amendment that is going to force your caucus members to vote for pension reform so Philadelphia public schools can raise their own money.