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: Budget impasse crippling counties

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 27, 2015 1:58 PM

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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, October 27, 2015:

When many think of state funding, they often don't consider the plight of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.  And they should because counties implement many of the social services funded by the state.

Think about programs for the mentally ill, homeless shelters, foster parents and families facing eviction.  All receive state and/or federal funding through counties.

At least 15 of the state's 67 counties have stopped providing aid and services, or paying contractors to do so -- or both -- while no money is coming from the state.  That's according to a report from Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti.

Tuesday marks the 119th day the state has gone without a budget.  No end is in sight as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders in the legislature are in a standoff over a proposed increase in the personal income tax, whether to impose a tax on natural gas drillers, privatizing state liquor stores and reforming public pensions.

In the meantime, schools, social services agencies and now counties are all feeling the pinch of no state funding.

As part of WITF's Gridlocked project that provides a deeper look at the impact of the budget stalemate, Tuesday's Smart Talk focuses on Pennsylvania's counties.

Appearing on the program are Douglas Hill, Executive Director of the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, who is president of the association.

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Executive Director of the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania Douglas Hill and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-27 09:52

    Sue emails:

    I'm a foster parent in Cumberland County with a child currently in my care. We have been told that we will not be receiving payment (the last month we were paid for was August 2015) to help provide for our foster child's basic needs because of the state budget impasse? How does anyone think that this is OK? I definitely think that this is a health and safety issue for children in foster care and have heard nothing but generic, political responses from my state representatives and the Governor's office.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-27 09:52

    Jeffrey emails:

    It is my observation that the media tends to blame the inflexibility of the Republicans for this impasse. However, I feel that Governor Wolf is the most inflexible and is unwilling to compromise. Perhaps it is time to consider a recall election and get this State on the move again.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-27 09:54

    Jeff emails:

    Since the deadlines are laws, what happens if those laws are broken?