Smart Talk

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 and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

STFriday: Governor Corbett on his budget plan

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Feb 7, 2014 7:00 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday:

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Gov. Tom Corbett

Governor Corbett's annual budget address on Tuesday heralded the start of another tough budget season in Harrisburg.

The governor's no-tax increase, $29.4 billion dollar spending plan would eliminate a projected budget gap and increase state spending by 3.3 percent in the new fiscal year. But many Democrats claim it's balanced on gimmicks and unsustainable revenues.

It flat-funds the basic education subsidy line item at $5.5 billion, while including an additional $240 million in targeted "Ready to Learn" block grants.

The budget also assumes $75 million from new drilling underneath state park land. The administration says it can be done without any additional surface impacts, but environmental groups call it a mismanagement of natural resources.


Ken Rudin

Several Corbett's 2013 budget priorities also reappeared in this week's budget address, including a public pension overhaul and liquor store privatization.

We'll discuss what's in -- and what's out of -- Governor Corbett's fourth proposed budget when he joins us on Smart Talk Friday.

What budget questions do you have for Governor Corbett? Post them in the comment section below, email us at or reach us via social media.

Political Junkie Ken Rudin will also join us for his monthly chat.

We'll discuss the latest political bickering on Capitol Hill and what the upcoming mid-term elections could mean for the balance of power in Washington D.C.

Listen to the program:

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  • Jim Foster img 2014-02-07 09:14


    How can you justify not imposing a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas in light of the following facts: PA is the ONLY state with significant Marcellus resources that doesn't impose a severance tax. The impact fee only brings in a small fraction of what we would get with a severance tax. Deep red states like Texas & Oklahoma DO impose a severance tax. We have tremendous needs, especially in the areas of replacing infrastructure and education.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    • John Trallo img 2014-02-07 13:00

      I for one am not in favor of a severance tax, but not because I support the extreme fossil fuel extraction industry's operations, or even their presence in PA. My concern is that a severance tax will only create yet another "cash cow" for the state to milk by encouraging more and more unconventional drilling. This is a threat to PA on so many levels. The oil and gas industry is causing contamination of our fresh water, clean air, destroying rural communities, threatening public health, safety, as well as the future of PA. Corbett likes to regurgitate the same tired industry "talking points" that have all been dispelled. This industry has not created local jobs. In fact it has lost far more jobs in PA than it will ever create. We are losing jobs in tourism, agriculture, new home construction, at quarries, and in the hardwood industry. PA has gone from 7th in job creation to 49th since the gas industry came to PA. The DEP has released 161 "documented cases" of contamination directly related to gas drilling activities. Once our forests are gone, they won't be restored, and will never come back. This gas is earmarked for export to China, India, Norway, Canada, and Great Britain, and will ultimately increase the cost of domestic fuel costs. Instead of fighting for a severance tax, we need to work to shut this industry down, and begin investing in clean, safe, sustainable, renewable energy sources which will create good paying, sustainable, family-friendly local jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and protect and preserve our water and air quality and boost the economy - THAT is real energy independence! It's time to stop giving away this state to the oil and gas industry by privatizing the profits by socializing the costs.

  • Lisa img 2014-02-07 09:41

    A well cap is "very unobtrusive"? I have seen one and I would definitely not call it that unless you consider a clearing of 3 football fields in the center of the forest surrounded by chain link fencing and signs as "very unobtrusive". It was a horrifying scar on the land! I respectfully suggest that the Governor consider before and after appearances and that just because it doesn't look like a Texas oil derrick it is NOT unobtrusive.

  • Larry img 2014-02-07 10:46

    The conservative mantra of lower taxes and deregulation has proven itself ineffective in creating a business environment, and that in fact and is shown to deter jobs.

    In light of the chemical spill in WV, and environmental and workplace disasters in other states, only provide the opportunity for business to place the cost of them doing business on that local on those taxpayers.

    Those taxpayers of WV will now be burden with poor drinking water, a municipality that may go bankrupt, and both people and business leaving the area.

    We taxpayers are now demanding a progressive tax base and strong regulations for business and those well compensated to provide for infrastructure, education and job training, and clean water and air that will truly provide a sustainable environment for job creators.