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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

State Budget Shortfall

Written by Rich Copeland | May 8, 2017 8:20 PM

State revenue collections fell 13.5% short of projections for April - a $537.1 million shortfall.  Acting Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell reported the annual budget shortfall at $1.2 billion dollars.  The state has responded with across-the-board spending cuts and revenue generation discussions ranging from increased governmental fees to expanded gaming and liquor sales and marijuana legalization.

The Commonwealth Foundation points to "Harrisburg's tax-and-spend approach" which has "stymied economic growth and generated significant budget challenges" as the cause of the deficit.

The Keystone Research Center blames an unsustainable and regressive tax structure for the shortfall, citing an Institution of Taxation and Economic Policy study finding "the top one percent pays less than half of the tax rate of the middle class and two-thirds less than the lowest 20%."

Smart Talk discusses the causes and impact of this shortfall with Nathan Benefield, Vice President and COO of the Commonwealth Foundation and Marc Stier, Director of the Keystone Research Center's Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.  We will also be joined by Sheila A. Weinberg, founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting, a taxation analysis group who issued a recent report giving state spending a "D" grade.

WITF Capital Bureau Chief Katie Meyer hosts the Tuesday edition of Smart Talk.

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Nathan Benefield - Vice President and COO, The Commonwealth Foundation / Sheila A. Weinberg - Founder and CEO, Truth in Accounting / Marc Stier - Director, Keystone Research Center's Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center


- Why is reducing the size of the legislature not part of this discussion?               - ScouterLake

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