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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: Political money, debates, GOP Congress and budget

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 11, 2015 8:15 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, October 12, 2015:

The first Smart Talk program of the week is devoted to several political issues facing the nation and Pennsylvania.

Franklin and Marshall College political analyst and pollster Dr. G. Terry Madonna appears on the show to share his thoughts.

In Pennsylvania, the state budget impasse has now reached over 100 days.  A vote in the House last week on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's tax proposal was defeated.  All the Republicans in the chamber voted against a proposal to increase the personal income tax and impose a tax on natural gas drillers.  A handful of Democrats joined them.

So far neither side has backed down.  We'll get a historical perspective on the continuing budget stalemate.

On the national front, the Democrats running for president meet in their first debate this week.  What do each have to do?

Also, Republican House members in Washington are fighting a bit of a battle amongst themselves over who will be the next Speaker of the House.  The most conservative representatives were happy when John Boehner announced he was stepping down but they want his replacement to be more to the right.

Those and other topics on Monday's program.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-12 09:43

    Tim emails—

    In 2014:
    -- exactly 2 out of 203 House districts had primaries in both parties.
    -- exactly 1 of out 203 House districts had a competitive election based on the margin of victory.
    -- 108 (53%) House districts had 1 name on the ballot in the general election.

    In other words, the vast majority of Pennsylvania voters had no way to hold their legislators accountable by voting for someone else.

    That's the effect of gerrymandering. Pennsylvania will continue to slide toward third-world bond status (among other quality measures) until that is remedied.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-12 09:54

    Lee in York emails--

    A Comment and a question:
    1) I added up the votes cast in the State House election last year and while the GOP was gaining seats, I believe that the Democrats received more total votes across the State.

    2) If the Pa GOP is so set on liquor privatization and fixing the pension system, why didn't they do it in the previous 4 years when they the House, Senate, and Governor were all Republican? The last thing that the Senate did for their GOP governor was to sue him.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-12 09:54

    Barry emails--

    Dr. Madonna, Can you spell "gerrymandering"?

    Until PA fixes it's Redistricting system - like CA, AZ and other are doing -- PA will continue to have these problems.The parties will continue drifting toward their extreme polls and compromise will become more difficult because legislators are less accountable to their voting constituency and more accountable to their funding constituency. They no longer feel accountable to voters.

    The only ungerrymandered offices are the statewide offices which better reflect the will of the voters statewide.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-10-12 09:56

    David in Kulpmont emails--

    With attitudes and state laws regarding medicinal and recreational marijuana changing across the country, what is the likelihood that PA will attempt to increase tax revenue by following in the footsteps of the dozens of states that have legalized medical marijuana and the handful of states, such as CO or WA, which have legalized recreational marijuana?