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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

2017-2018 Pennsylvania budget analysis

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Feb 7, 2017 8:00 PM
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Governor Wolf presented his budget for the state's 2017-2018 fiscal year on Tuesday.  It includes $32.3 billion in expenditures, a 1.3% increase over last year with no broad-based (like sales or personal income) tax increases.   However, the governor is asking for a tax on natural gas drilling and expansion of items that are subject to taxes.

The budget also recommends merging the Department of Corrections with the Board of Probation & Parole and consolidating the departments of Health, Human Services, Aging and Drug & Alcohol Programs into one Department of Health & Human Services.

Wolf wants residents of municipalities that are patrolled by Pennsylvania State Police to pay $25 per person, an increase of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 per hour and an increase of $200 million in education spending.

The governor plans to cut $2 billion in spending, but promised "my budget protects the investments we've made in education, in senior services, in fighting the scourge of opioids, and in growing Pennsylvania's economy."

Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, will join us on WITF's Smart Talk Wednesday to parse out the proposed budget and answer your questions about the state spending plan.  With's reporters also weigh in on several different aspects of the budget.

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