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)

Host: Scott LaMar

2015 Top Stories on Smart Talk: The budget impasse

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 31, 2015 4:52 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, December 31, 2015:

Perhaps, the biggest story of the year and the one that impacted the most people was the state budget impasse.  The six-month long gridlock between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders is the subject of The Top Stories of 2015 on Smart Talk finale Thursday.

Last March, Gov. Wolf proposed a budget of more than $33 billion.  The proposal called for a 50% cut in school property taxes and in the state's corporate net income tax, but increases in the state income tax, sales tax that is expanded to include more products and services, and taxes on natural gas drillers.

Republicans fought back against the tax hikes and said their priorities were slowing down or eliminating a pension debt for retired state workers and educators that reached into the tens of millions of dollars and privatizing the state liquor stores.

It took a long time for the two sides to compromise but after announcing the framework of  a budget agreement in November, talks broke down again.

Schools and social service organizations that count on state funding to operate were cutting back or shutting down altogether.

Appearing on Thursday's Smart Talk are Gov. Wolf, Republican Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and domestic violence advocates.

Published in News, Smart Talk

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