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

Capitol Roundtable

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Jul 27, 2017 8:00 PM

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a plan to balance the commonwealth's $32 billion budget. 

It stood out as a marked departure from previous GOP-led proposals, because it aims to close a $2.2 billion revenue gap using several controversial tax increases, including a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, a range of utility taxes, and expansion of online sales tax collections. It also proposes borrowing $1.3 billion against a state fund.

The package barely passed the Senate, with a bipartisan vote of 26-24. It now moves to the House for approval, where it faces an uncertain future. House GOP leaders released a memo after receiving the finished bill, noting that they hadn't been involved in developing the Senate proposal, they hadn't agreed to its components, and they "certainly have no intention to rubberstamp these bills."

On the Friday edition of Smart Talk, WITF Capital Bureau Chief Katie Meyer is joined by PennLive state government reporter Charles Thompson, and Morning Call Harrisburg correspondent Steve Esack to explain the political and fiscal nuances of the ongoing budget negotiations, and to examine their potential impact on Pennsylvanians.

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Charles Thompson - PennLive state government reporter / Steve Esack - Harrisburg correspondent, The Morning Call

If you want to hear more discussions like this one, Katie also hosts a weekly state government podcast featuring a rotating panel of Harrisburg reporters, which you can check out here.

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Katie Meyer - WITF Capitol Bureau Chief


- would appreciate hearing you and guest discuss your take on PA's chance of landing

the Foxconn tech center "promised" to PA 4 years ago.    What is PA doing to compete with other states?                                                            - Rick, Harrisburg

- A natural gas severance tax cannot be passed down to consumers. The tax is on the gas as it comes out of the ground. Pennsylvania utilities are not required to purchase Pennsylvania natural gas. Also, Pennsylvania consumers choose their natural gas their producer. Should a gas producers try and pass a severance tax on to their buyers, the buyers will go elsewhere. So a severance tax cannot increase natural gas prices to the consumer.                                                        - Tom, Carlisle

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