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Advocates, parents fight for cigarette tax in state capital

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The House right now may not be thinking about the cancelled cigarette tax vote that could provide $45 million to the embattled Philadelphia school district but the people of Public Citizens for Children and Youth are.

On Monday morning, two buses full of parents, students, teachers and advocates rallied at the Rotunda in Harrisburg urging lawmakers to consider the vote — and soon.

"There's no sense of urgency in Harrisburg," said Shanee Garner, education policy director for PCCY. "It's a disgrace."

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The House last week canceled the vote and will instead wait until mid-Septemeber, when members reconvene. But school district Superintendent William Hite has said without that money from the tax, the first day of school — slated for Sept. 8 — may be delayed.

More than 100 people rallied at the capital, Garner sad, holding signs up that read "Don't leave our kids hanging" and "PA legislators: Where are you?"

"Not reconvening is unacceptable," Garner said. "They need to get back to work today. Vacation is over."

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