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.

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Host: Scott LaMar

How to pay for state budget/Bicycle Safety

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Aug 10, 2017 8:00 PM
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On the Friday, August 11th edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

On the final Thursday of July, the state Senate passed a $32 billion revenue plan by a 26-24 vote that transcended party lines.  The package awaits action by the State house.

The bill includes new taxes and existing rate increases including a natural gas extraction tax, higher taxes imposed on gas and electric bills, an expansion of gambling in the state and a green light to borrow against future tobacco settlements.

The extraction tax, along with other taxes and fees targeting the energy industry, have business leaders in the state concerned.  Energy Association of Pennsylvania president Terry Fitzpatrick sees these taxes being passed on to Pennsylvanians, telling The Sentinel "It really doesn't make sense to try to solve this problem by raising consumers' energy costs."

Mark Chasse of the Industrial Energy Consumers of Pennsylvania worries this package will stymie growth, saying "This tax would provide a second thought into reinvesting."

Friday's Smart Talk includes discussion of the revenue package with David Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association, who told PennLive "This is about Pennsylvania's future, and whether or not we're going to sacrifice it on the high altar of one year's state budget." 

Also joining Smart Talk are Sam Denisco, Vice President of Government Affairs with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and State Representative Greg Vitali.  Vitali is concerned about the influence the energy industry has in lobbying for a favorable tax position.

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Sam Denisco - Vice President of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association / State Representative Greg Vitali (D-166) / David Taylor - President, Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association

Later, Smart Talk will discuss bicycle safety.  Two cyclists were injured last month in South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County when the driver of an SUV drove into a pack of riders.  Former State Representative and current Executive Director of the Lebanon Valley Bicycle Coalition Pat Krebs and Sharyn Kocevar of the Bicycle South Central Pennsylvania Steering Committee will discuss efforts to bring awareness to the cyclists who share the roads.

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Sharyn Kocevar - Bicycle South Central Pennsylvania Steering Committee / Pat Krebs - Executive Director of the Lebanon Valley Bicycle Coalition

emails

on revenue bill:

- just a comment,  taxes do nothing to get a state or for that matter out of a bind.......it only makes it worse.

for an example,  general electric is slowly closing their century old locomotive plant in erie pa (just cut over 500 job)

ge is moving operations to a no income tax state in fort worth tx.  the plant is also new.

pa. has lost thousands of good paying jobs and over the years either imposed new taxes (1959 sales tax, 1971 income tax) for 

the same reasons they want to increase and impose new taxes now (we are broke) and the same excuses "we hate to do this but..........."

in my view the best thing is to first establish a budget that is realistic.

LOWER taxes and regulations to make pa a place to do business not leave it.

this state has caused this problem due to not being financially prudent, what is next after gambling is on every corner, liquor is sold 24 hours a day.

attract business with business friendly incentives, lower regulations, and cut real estate taxes.      - Thomas, Manheim Township

- The natural gas impact fee is failing. Based mostly on drilling permits, it brought the least revenue in ever in 2016. Technological advances have allowed longer horizontal laterals in Marcellus wells resulting 3 to 5 times more gas from one well so there are fewer drilling permits. A severance tax is on the amount of gas produced at the well head. There could be zero drilling and the severance tax will produce revenue. Because a consumer chooses their gas producer, trying to pass a severance tax on will cause consumers to choose a cheaper producer.                                           - Tom, Carlisle

- Please address how retires like us with substantial income don't pay state income tax on pensions and SS.

We should pay taxes like everyone else.                                                           - John, Newberrytown

- Over seventy percent of natural gas produced in Pennsylvania is consumed in other states.  Pennsylvania is foolish for not having a severance tax, because over seventy percent of that tax will eventually be borne by consumers in the northeast region.  The benefit of low taxes on gas production has already been realized and billions of dollars in pipelines are being built to carry that gas to market.  The impact fee formula provides for a gradual decrease over time, and has been decreasing in recent years.  A severance fee based only on the volume of production would provide steady and increasing income for the rest of the Twenty First Century.              - Dan

Strawman arguments, appeal to emotion are the fallacious arguments that I head for the argument against taxing the gas companies.  Using phrases such as "smash and grab", but no specific quantitative figures.      - Mark, Steelton 

- One guest you have mentioned the economic formula multiplier effect:  i.e. other companies producing material to construct the apparatus used to extract the gas.  Are these companies located here in pennsylvania?          - Mark

on bicycle safety:

Thank you for talking about this incredibly important issue.

I and several of my family members are a part of the cycling community in Franklin county and I feel exasperated about what to do about drivers who are distracted or intentionally scaring those on bikes. I think the only way to combat this problem is to make it socially unacceptable to pose a threat to cyclists, just like the grassroots, community pressure to watch out for motorcyclists.   - Sarah, Chambersburg

- How concerned should we be about the exhaust fumes from vehicles when biking to work?   - Mark, Steelton

I agree that bicycles should have equal right  - and I always give them safe passage.  But to make them fully responsible, should not bike owners ( who want bike lanes, wider shoulders, etc) be required to license the bikes that will travel on roads maintained by auto/truck vehicles license fees, gas taxes, etc?  - Frederick

- Please comment on bike riders riding abreast in the road.  Often happens in my neighborhood, most frequently with plain Mennonite teenagers riding 3 or 4 abreast.  Is this legal?                                - Lisa

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