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Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, February 21:
Pennsylvania's inheritance tax is arguably the state's most unpopular tax. It is derisively called "the death tax."
Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) has proposed legislation to eliminate the inheritance tax on family-owned businesses in Pennsylvania, saying some families have had to sell or even liquidate their businesses in order to pay the tax. It ranges from 4.5% to 15% of a business' total value, depending on whether the heir is the son or daughter of the business owner or a distant relative.
Bloom also calls the inheritance tax a burden to the next generation of job creators.
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue estimates doing away with the tax would mean a loss of $9.9 million in tax revenue.
Rep. Bloom will appear on Thursday's Radio Smart Talk to explain his bill.
Also, we may be a month away from spring but this is the time of year when many people get bored and are looking for something to do. Reading a good book is entertaining at any time of year, but maybe more so now during the cold winter days and nights.
Radio Smart Talk will get book recommendations on Thursday's program from Catherine Lawrence, co-owner of the Mid Town Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg and a writer herself, Todd Dickinson, co-owner of Aaron's Books in Lititz, and Jon Walker, who blogs book reviews at jonosbookreviews.com.
What books are you reading?
Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) on Radio Smart Talk
Catherine Lawrence, Todd Dickinson, and Jon Walker
Jon Walker list:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo ... The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane ... Canada, by Richard Ford.
The only one I didn't give 5 stars out of 5 was Behind the Beautiful Forevers even though this book won the National Book Award and generally gets rave reviews all around from professional critics down to Amazon amateurs. Read my review and you'll see why I went against the grain.
I have also attached my post about the history of the Horseshoe Trail that stretches from near Harrisburg to Valley Forge. I thought you might be personally intrigued because it's of local interest and may be a good topic for another Smart Talk program. You could have an officer of the Horseshoe Trail Association, or the president of one of the many hiking and walking clubs in the area on the show. Just a thought.
Finally, I've attached a fourth book review -- The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. I have included this book because it fits perfectly with the theme of "the kind of book you really like to curl up with on a cold winter's day."
Todd Dickinson’s list:
The Third Bullet: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel
It’s not even a clue. It’s a whisper, a trace, a ghost echo, drifting down through the decades via chance connections so fragile that they would disintegrate in the puff of a breath. But it’s enough to get legendary former Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger interested in the events of November 22, 1963.
It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War. But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it.
The Presidents Club
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
The Presidents Club is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor.
Catherine Lawrence’s list:
Ayana Mathis - The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Knopf hardcover & Random House large-print paper, December 2012)
This bestselling debut novel is set in Philadelphia and follows a family's challenges and courageous choices over the course of the 20th century. The author actually studied under the New School's Jackson Taylor of BLUE ORCHARD fame (which many may have read, a compelling story in its own right, based on real events in Harrisburg & surrounding communities in early to mid 20th Century).
Jennifer Haigh - News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories (Harper hardcover, January 2013)
Short stories set in fictionalized coal-mining town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania. Just published, to great critical acclaim. It's being compared to James Joyce's Dubliners, or Sherwood Anderson's Wineburg, Ohio! It should make an interesting counterpart to John O'Hara's Pennsylvania stories, which I've enjoyed.
Diana Gabaldon - A Trail of Fire (UK imprint, October 2012)
This is historical fiction, a collection of 4 novellas, some new and some republished. They are an off-shoot of Gabaldon's popular time-traveling historical epic "Outlander" Series, shifting between the 18th- and 20th-centuries.
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