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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on witf’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays.

Hosted by: Scott LaMar



Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Matt Paul and witf Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.

Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson



witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

RST: Does PA have a good business climate?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 14, 2013 2:54 PM

What to look for on Radio Smart Talk, Thursday, August 15, 2013:

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Is Pennsylvania a good place to do business?

It depends on who you ask.

Pennsylvania has a great location that is within a day's drive of tens of millions of people, the state has the reputation of having a productive workforce, and is home to several world class universities.  Almost everyone makes that part of the state's sales pitch.

Government's role and influence is another story.

Pennsylvania has the nation's second highest corporate net income tax rate at 9.9%.  A closer look, however, shows most corporations don't pay that top rate.

A national organization, The Tax Foundation, recently ranked Pennsylvania 19th in the country in its State Business Tax Climate Index.

On Thursday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll take a closer look at the state's business climate.

Joining us will be Sam Denisco, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and Sharon Ward, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Policy and Budget Center.

What are your thoughts on Pennsylvania's business climate?  What can be done to make it better? 

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Sharon Ward & Sam Denisco

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Comments: 6

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-15 08:25

    John in Chambersburg writes:

    Your guest noted the applicant pool for unspecified "skilled jobs" in the state was poor, and a significant problem.

    This is a common statement from individuals who view our state and nationwide job issues as due to structural unemployment.

    If an employer is unable to find a welder, machine shop worker, nurse, teacher, or any skilled individual, the problem is not lack of skills among applicants but, more likely, their unwillingness to pay an attractive wage.

    If lack of skilled job seekers was a real problem, we would see rising wages in at least one job sector, as employers complete for what your guest contends is a limited pool of skilled workers. What we've seen the last many years, in contrast, is wage stagnation in health care, manufacturing, the service industry, and every other employment sector.

    If you offer a higher wage than other companies, you will attract employees from other companies or other geographic areas. If your complaint is "I can't find a skilled machinist for $15/hour" the solution is obvious. Pay them $20/hour or whatever is necessary to attract those employees.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-15 08:34

    Russell posted on witf's FB page:

    The climate "for business" is great. Our governator loves business. The problem here, as it is nationwide, is that this "positive business environment" has meant less money for workers, who by the way, are also consumers which means less consuming. Add in onerous healthcare costs because we insist on allowing the insurance industry to continue skimming boatloads of money while providing no value and you have the environment where businesses are asking, "Why aren't things better?".

    It might as simple as, if consumers had more money, the economy would be better.

    As long the our system favors financial industries and works against the majority of citizens, we'll continue to enjoy our depression...errr....recession.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-15 08:37

    Yasmin posts on our FB page:

    Not as long as many big businesses/corporations treat their workers like a number in a harsh, dehumanizing way.

  • A Winner img 2013-08-15 08:40

    One of my sons earned a bachelors degree in art from Univ. of the arts, then a masters in art from Cranbrook in Mich. He started with a small firm in Grand Rapids MI over 14 years ago -- designing fabrics for Steel Case,the auto industry, etc. 3 years ago his full time position went to 4 days of work and 3 days of pay, and increased health care costs. 2 years ago, after much stress and effort, he obtained a position back here in PA! He is designing woven and knitted internal body parts (stents, organs, etc. His new employer took a chance on hiring a creative artist with technical ability, and offered him a very nice package. This is one PA employer that has vision and imagination, and willingness to think outside the box. WIN WIN!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-15 08:49

    A listener writes:

    Thanks for your show.

    I am a 52 year old white male with extensive experience in the manufacturing industry including product design and development and sourcing from domestic and foreign sources, and have a BSME and an MBA. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty to work. I have concluded that there is no employment available for me at my age and believe that most potential employers simply pass me over as being overqualified and would have a tendency to leave for something better.

    Your guests do not understand that government does not create legitimate jobs.

  • edstem09 img 2013-08-16 03:30

    Cut the PA personal income tax back to pre Rendell level of 2.80%. This would put more money in working people' pockets. Those dollars can go to spending in area businesses. It would give the working people who are now forced to buy health insurance some money towards the high cost. It would give homeowners more money to pay their property taxes. It would give college grads money to pay their college debt. Working students would retain more of their wages to pay for college costs Low income wage earners would have more money for necessities, which they typically buy locally helping the area businesses. Vehicle owners would have more money to offset the tax increases in gas and fees that have been proposed by the General Assembly. A cut in PIT would be a big boost for minimum wage earners. Businesses in PA have enjoyed massive tax breaks over the past 8 years. Taxes have funded bonds for stadiums and other development. Taxes funded business grants under Rendell. CUT THE PIT to help working Pennsylvanias.

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