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Cigarette Tax Vote’s Here; Corbett, Wolf Square Off; Lobbyist Charged With Rape

Newsletter for Monday, Sept. 22

INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY

THAT BIG CIGARETTE TAX VOTE HAPPENS TODAY

‘Member the crisis over the summer, when state lawmakers passed, then changed, a cigarette tax to keep Philly’s schools open? Well the state House is dragging that sucker out again today. In the “believe it when we see it” department, this thing — which would drop a $2 charge on every pack of smokes sold in the city — is expected to pass today, and head to the Senate. What happens there is kind of anyone’s guess, as that group was expected to pass this thing last time around and added a time limit to the tax. That sent it back to their counterparts. Ah, politics. But it’s a bit more pressing this time around: Philly Superintendent William Hite says, based on assurances from lawmakers, the district has already spent the $42 million the tax is expected to raise. Gulp.

WHAT IS THIS, A ‘HOUSE OF CARDS’ EPISODE?

You know the story: Boy meets girl, boy takes girl back to his office at 10 pm for a job interview (!), girl files rape charges. Or maybe you hadn’t heard about the arrest of Andrew Marsico, a 40-year-old lobbyist for Greenlee Partners. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 27-year-old woman he met at the posh Union League on August 21; the alleged rape happened that same night, at his office at the Bellevue. Oh, and Marsico’s married to Action News reporter Annie McCormick. Much more to come, but this sounds like the plot of a House of Cards episode…

Editor’s Note: Some of Billy Penn’s readers took offense to the tone of this newsletter item; we addressed their feedback here and here.

RUMBLE AT CHOCOLATE WORLD: CORBETT, WOLF SQUARE OFF TONIGHT

Two men enter. (Well, both men leave. But come on, it’s interesting.) The candidates for Pennsylvania Governor, incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, will go head to head in the first debate of the governor’s race in Hershey. Keep in mind there are two more of these things — on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 — so it’s not your last chance to see them butt horns. But with Corbett riding a summer of low polling numbers, and Wolf out-earning Corbett in terms of donations ($18 million to the Democrat, $13 million for Corbett), it’s worth checking out.


 

BIG ART ALERT: SEE CEZANNE WHILE YOU STILL CAN

WHAT:  The last day for the only U.S. stop of 16 works from the legendary artist — the marquee event is titled The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes Of Paul Cézanne.
WHERE: The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
WHEN: 10 am – 6 pm
HOW MUCH: $14 for the exhibition only — that’s less than $1 per masterpiece.
DETAILS HERE.


BILLY PENN LIKES

BISSINGER: ‘IN ORDER TO LIVE A HAPPIER LIFE YOU BECOME A SHITTIER WRITER’

Buzz Bissinger, The writer of a must-read book about Philadelphia politics, A Prayer for the City (where Ed Rendell talks about described the Mayor’s day thusly: “A good portion of my job is spent on my knees, sucking people off to keep them happy”) is interviewed for the Longform Podcast. He reveals how his process of writing angry was wreaking havoc on his life: “I just couldn’t live in that fashion anymore, I just couldn’t. It would’ve destroyed my marriage. It was destroying me.”

SLATE POINTS OUT AN 1849 GUIDE TO THE PHILLY BROTHEL SCENE

Casual racism aside, it’s worth looking at this Guide to the Stranger, which purports to show the best places to spend money for, uh, company in Philly a century and a half ago. As Slate notes, the book “offered young men visiting Philadelphia guidance in their choice of brothel or “bed house.”