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.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Where do Gov. Wolf and Republicans differ on budget?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 1, 2015 11:00 AM
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Photo by Scott LaMar/WITF

What to look for on Smart Talk  Wednesday, July 1, 2015:

Wednesday is July 1 -- the first day of Pennsylvania's 2015-2016 fiscal year.  A new state budget is supposed to be in place but as budget negotiations heated up in the last few weeks between the Democratic administration of Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders in the Senate and House, it became apparent the two sides were far apart in several key areas.

A little over a month after being inaugurated, Gov. Wolf outlined a spending plan that totaled $33.8 billion.  It included property tax relief and a reduced corporate net income tax but called for a new tax on natural gas drillers and higher sales and income taxes.  To fulfill a promise he made during his successful campaign for office, the governor wanted a significant increase in money for Pennsylvania's public schools.

From the beginning of the process, Republicans, who have majorities in both chambers of the legislature said their priorities were a solution to a $50 billion unfunded public pension debt and privatizing the state's liquor stores.

Last week, the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a $30 billion budget that didn't include the tax increases and education funding Gov. Wolf ask for.

On Wednesday's Smart Talk, we'll hear from two organizations that on are opposite sides of the budget debate.

Matthew Brouillette is the President and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation and Mark Price is a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center.

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Mark Price and Matthew Brouillette on Smart Talk

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  • Rich img 2015-07-01 09:11

    Regarding the gas companies statements that they should not be taxed more because they create jobs, they are lying. Simple indisputable fact. since 2000, the state's population has increased by about 5%. BUT of the 13 counties with the most wells (near or over 100) 10 jave LOST population. Wells have been a disaster for tourism,(including hunting and fishing), agriculture, Lumber, etc

  • Bob Nunn img 2015-07-01 09:30

    Does the severance tax pay to fix the roads, or does the money to fix damaged roads come out of the general fund.

    They're closing down because of the price, they were shutting down before wolf...

  • Robert D Colgan img 2015-07-01 09:33

    I think a new word should be coined---by combining two words: "repugnant" and "Republican"----- to make the new word "Repubnant" which means "policies which stink horribly."

  • Bob Nunn img 2015-07-01 09:48

    They hired more educators because parents wanted smaller classes...

  • Larry Hawkins img 2015-07-01 09:49

    Listening today does not sound like Smart Talk; it sounds like Used-Car-Salesmen talk. The word games they are playing and the statistics they are messaging makes me want to call BS on them both. And, it is a perfect example of why I (and I believe many people) are turned off by partisan politics.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-01 11:02

    An anonymous listeners ask...
    Why are school districts allowed to carry millions of dollars in "rainy day" funds and continue to raise taxes?

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-01 11:03

    Cathy comments...
    Why are teachers who don't teach - and my children have had several in a upper income public school district - protected by the PSEA?

    Spending more money on bad teachers who can't be fired will not help improve education.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-01 11:04

    Ron suggests...
    Why is internet sales tax such a taboo?

    It would help local brick and mortar stores and charge those who are spending.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-01 11:04

    Tom says...
    The last all Republican budget fell short on projected revenue. This Republican budget is projected to come in even further in the hole. How can anyone call this a balanced budget with a straight face?

    When are these guys going to put down their symbols and horns and compromise? I’ve been married for over 40 years. I learned the art and value of compromise a long time ago…

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-01 11:06

    Rich adds...
    Regarding the gas companies statements that they should not be taxed
    more because they create jobs, they are lying. Simple indisputable
    fact. since 2000, the state's population has increased by about 5%. BUT of the 13 counties with the most wells (near or over 100) 10 jave LOST population. Wells have been a disaster for tourism,(including hunting and fishing), agriculture, Lumber, etc

  • Jim Foster img 2015-07-01 14:02

    Scott, I have no doubt you had the best of intentions. But, listening to hired guns for the Wolf Admin. and Legislature throw verbal grenades at each other for a hour was neither very informative nor made for good radio. Next time, you might consider having the hired guns on for 15 minutes or so and then having knowledgeable reporters or pundits talk about it. I turned it off after about ten minutes. Take care.

  • Mark Price img 2015-07-01 16:11

    Hi everyone. Thanks for listening. For a comparison of how the Wolf and Republican budget would affect your community we have fact sheets that provide information by legislative district which you can find at the following link. https://pennbpc.org/RepublicanBudget1516