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

Smart Talk: Which state issues are most important to you?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 25, 2016 5:14 PM
State Capitol winter Walnut St wide shot 600 x 340.jpg

Photo by Scott LaMar/WITF

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, January 26, 2016:

On Monday's Smart Talk, we talked with you and many others about the national issues that you felt were most important right now.

On Tuesday's program, we'll do the same with issues facing Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians.

There has been a lot of negative political news surrounding Pennsylvania over the past few months -- the state has been without a complete budget for seven months, Attorney General Kathleen Kane faces criminal charges while a State Senate committee could decide to remove her from office, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is getting deeper into a scandal that included pornographic, sexist and racist emails.

Those issues may not have an impact on your day-to-day lives but what does?  What about property taxes, education, pensions, infrastructure or crime?

We'll open the phones to ask the question -- what state issue is most important to you right now?

Between 9 and 10 a.m., call 1-800-729-7532 or email smarttalk@witf.org to get in on the show.

Joining us are WITF's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson and political analyst and pollster Dr. G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College. 

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  • Jim Foster img 2016-01-26 08:29

    I believe we need a severance tax on oil and gas extraction. PA is the only state with significant Marcellus resources without such a tax. Deep red states like Texas, Oklahoma, etc. have one. Why is PA leaving this revenue on the table?

  • Lisa img 2016-01-26 09:24

    I would like to see our legislative branch reduced in numbers and pay. There is no reason, apparently, that we need to have a legislature paid full-time. My local township tried to rehire our former township supervisor and roadmaster, now our state representative, as a part-time storm water specialist and snow plow operator. When residents protested that our state rep wouldn't have time for this part-time employment, we were told he only has a part-time job as state rep, despite the full-time salary. So, if this is how our representatives feel, then we ought to cut their pay in half and get rid of half of them! They are completely ineffective at this point as the budget impasse aptly shows.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 09:35

    David in Lancaster emails:
    I remember schools were closed multiple days in January 1996. Our rural road was not plowed for 3 days.
    I now live in Lancaster City. Narrow one way streets with parking on both sides are very hard, if not impossible, to plow without damaging the parked cars. I parked my car in the city garage Friday night and walked home. I don’t expect to be able to park in front of my house for some time. At least I can get around on foot this time. In 1996 we were totally snow bound for four days.

    We had lots of warning. Why don't people think ahead a little?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 09:35

    Manuel in Carlisle emails:

    My main concerns with Pennsylvania is the issue which, if left unchecked, will lead to class and race warfare. Urbanites do not understand, and demonize rural folk as religious nuts clinging to their guns, while those living in the countryside demonize urbanites as people who want to control their lives and suppress their religious and societal views.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 09:36

    Susan in New Freedom emails:

    Please discuss the need to reform the statute of limitations. I'm 63 years old and my violation as a child was burned into my brain like your memories of 911. It's time to make it possible to bring charges against the perps who are still free to abuse children because of our SOL.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 09:37

    Rick in Harrisburg emails:
    All government moral and fiscal accountability. We deserve much better! Vote this year, people.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 09:59

    Lee emails:

    To follow up on the gerrymandering that Terry was describing, if you look at all election results for all the State house seats in Pennsylvania in the last election, you'll find that more Pennsylvanians voted for Democrats than Republicans -- while the Republicans gained seats in the House. That is the practical effect of a Gerrymander and the truth behind the Republican "mandate".

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-26 10:01

    Judy in York emails:

    At the risk of being completely heretical:

    Include, at some level, income taxes on retirement incomes.

    There are many cases of retired Pennsylvanians owing no state income tax, despite quite comfortable incomes, because their monies are structured to be tax-avoiding under state law.

    This, along with extraction fees on state resources such as Marcellus Shale, have to be considered in budget talks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-26 10:20

    Nia comments...
    Would the comparatively large number of municipalities and townships across PA that maintain and must support their own separate infrastructures, police departments, etc., benefit from regionalization and the pooling of resources to maintain services?

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-26 10:29

    Joyce comments...
    I would like to see a question on the ballot to determine if pay could be withheld from legislators when they fail to pass a budget. It seems only fair that they should share in the hardship of financial loss to the same level as the school districts and others that they hold hostage with their poor job performance. There is no consequence to them for failing to do the work the taxpayers are paying them to do. In the real world they would be fired.

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