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

Budget deadline looms -- how did PA get here?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 29, 2017 4:34 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, June 29, 2017:

Pennsylvania lawmakers have to find a way to close a budget deficit of about a billion and a half dollars before enacting a spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins Saturday.  Then, there's a structural deficit of more than three billion dollars that will have to be addressed eventually.

Unlike two years ago when a budget wasn't agreed to until nine months into the fiscal year, this year's negotiations have been quiet and so far uneventful.  That could change when details come out publicly.

Part of the reason there hasn't been much controversy is both Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders in the legislature have said there will be no general tax increase and there doesn't appear to be a huge difference in how much will be spent.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, WITF's Capital Bureau Chief Katie Meyer provides the latest insight on the budget and provides an explanation of how the budget got so tight.

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Katie Meyer -WITF Capital Bureau Chief

We'll also be joined by Connell O'Brien and Wendy Loranzo of the FamilyFirstPA Coalition, an organization concerned that possible budget cuts that could have an impact on human services.

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Connell O'Brien / Wendy Loranzo - Family First PA Coalition


- A week ago or so there was a court case which found that the state had to operate the state resources to keep the resources for future generations.

The little commentary I saw on this was that funds need to stay with natural resources, not go to the general fund.

Have you heard anything about how this is impacting the budget in light of the impact fee?                                                                                       - Rory, York

- Scott just said that some have said there is no political downside to playing games like borrowing from the tobacco fund.  That is the problem in a nutshell.  People need to tell their legislators that continuing to play phony budget "balancing" games is unacceptable.  None of our state budgets have been balanced in probably a decade.                     - Jim F.

- For the past 7 yrs since I passed 65 I have wanted to thank younger folks for paying my share of taxes.

I still have income near 100k and get to keep more of it! 

(Yes this is sarcasm,  I should pay taxes too)                      - Jim U.

Currently, Pennsylvania taxes are paid on contributions to traditional IRA's and 401(k)'a. If you were to tax them again as clients withdrew their money, you would be taxing them  twice. That would be a penalty for residents who lived their whole adult lives in PA. I'm not sure how you could tax those retirements received out of state, and then moved to Pennsylvania.     - Jane

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