One under-explored wrinkle in the unfolding Philly school funding hostage negotiations is whether Tom Corbett can even credibly promise to deliver the Republican votes to release the hostage – the local option cigarette tax.
“I would encourage the delegation, the Democrat delegation, from the city of Philadelphia … to give the votes to get a pension bill done so they can get a cigarette tax done so they can get additional funding for the school district of Philadelphia,” Corbett told reporters during a briefing in his Capitol offices. “It’s in their hands.”
It’s not like this is just a simple matter of adding the Philadelphia Democratic delegation’s votes to the Republican votes for pension cuts. Once the cigarette tax is in the mix, Corbett is guaranteed to lose a bunch of right wing votes for the deal. How many? Who knows!
I won’t claim to know what the vote count looks like at this point, but just looking at how these kinds of negotiations have gone down during other Corbett-era budget fights, it would be highly imprudent to assume Corbett actually controls any GOP votes, that he knows how many votes he controls, or that his administration has even engaged with Republican leadership in the legislature before making public statements teasing this deal.
Also, pro tip: if you want Democratic politicians to listen, maybe don’t use the “Democrat” formulation Republicans like to use to casually taunt the party.