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)

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 Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk Friday: Closer to severance tax?; Beer distributors weigh in on new liquor plan; Bark for Life event to fund cancer research

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Apr 24, 2014 3:06 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday:

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Should Pennsylvania impose a severance tax on natural gas drillers to generate money for the state?

For months, all four Democrats running for governor have made a severance tax a centerpiece of their campaigns and have been touting how on what programs they would use the funding.

They point out that Pennsylvania is the only Marcellus Shale state that doesn't have a severance tax.  However, Pennsylvania does charge drillers an impact fee that has produced more than $630 million that primarily went back to communities where the wells are located or are impacted by drilling.

Several industry and business groups countered this week that Pennsylvania has a different tax structure than other states and drillers are paying taxes to the state in other forms.  They along with Gov. Tom Corbett are concerned a severance tax may motivate drillers to leave the state and go elsewhere.

What's new is there are Republican legislators who are least talking about a severance tax, especially if Pennsylvania is facing a budget deficit at the end of the fiscal year in June.

On Smart Talk Friday, we'll hear from Republican Senator Jake Corman of Centre County and Democrat Dwight Evans of Philadelphia about whether a severance tax would be supported in the General Assembly.

Also, last Friday, we heard about a new proposal developed by business groups to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania.  It seems to be creating a bit of a buzz -- mostly because it would offer choices in licensing and allow beer distributors, bars, grocery stores to sell liquor, wine, and beer.

Not all distributors are on board.  We'll talk to Mark Tanczos, the president of the Malt Beverage Distributor Association of Pennsylvania.

Also, the American Cancer Society will hold a unique fundraiser Saturday at Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown.  The Bark for Life: A Canine Event to Fight Cancer includes dogs and their owners walking to raise money for cancer research.

For more information on the Bark for Life event go here.

Katie Anderson, event director from the American Cancer Society, and Myra Taylor, event volunteer explain on Smart Talk Friday. 

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Photo by Joe Ulrich/WITF

Mikey with Katie Anderson of the American Cancer Society, Smart Talk host Scott LaMar and Myra Taylor, a volunteer for the Bark for Life event

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