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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.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Gridlocked state budget project; Women in construction

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 19, 2015 8:25 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, October 19, 2015:

During the three-and-a-half months that Pennsylvania has gone without a state budget, we've heard often that this budget stalemate is different than previous impasses.  It's not the longest the state has endured and probably isn't even the most contentious.

What makes this one unique is the lack of pressure on the governor and legislature to reach an agreement. 

In the past, when budget negotiations have gone beyond the beginning of the start of the fiscal year, state workers weren't paid.  That was until a 2009 court ruling that said they must be paid in a timely fashion

There may not be pressure but there are dozens of social services agencies and hundreds of schools that are feeling the pinch of not receing money from the state.

On Monday's Smart Talk, WITF launches a project called "Gridlocked" that takes a deeper look into the impact of the budget standoff.

Also, attorney Diane Tokarsky and JEM Construction owner Jessica Meyers discuss women in the construction industry.


Construction attorney Diane Tokarsky and JEM Construction owner Jessica Meyers visit Smart Talk on October 19.

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-10-19 10:31

    Linda writes...
    Dear Scott,
    I just wanted to comment on how the budget impasse can effect everyday people.
    Some time ago, maybe seven or eight (?) years ago, I had a client who was a quadriplegic whom I assisted several days a week, morning and/or bedtime, and I was paid through UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) as a Personal Attendant. My paychecks that should have been over $100 were about $10. My client looked into the situation, and was told it was a mistake, to resubmit, etc, but the situation did not change. The timing was during a budget impasse, so I believe that was the real problem. I was a single Mother with 3 kids, working 2 jobs and attending York College's Nursing program full time. I didn't have time to advocate for myself, and I didn't want to leave my client without care, so I continued working for a fraction of the pay. Luckily, I had several sources of income, so I could survive financially. But the situation was definitely unfair to me.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-10-19 10:32

    Laura adds...
    Dear Mr. LaMar,

    I applaud these women! My father is a general contractor and for the past six years I have worked with him over the summers. I recently graduated from Penn State University, so I continue to fill in for him when he needs additional help. I have experienced the doubts and gender stereotyping throughout those years, yet I have my dad, some of the construction workers I've met, and these women for disregarding gender barriers and inspiring women to go into the fields they choose.