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

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act / Gaming Revenue / Terrorism Preparedness

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Nov 1, 2017 8:00 PM
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On the Friday November 3rd, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

The 429 page Republican tax bill was unveiled on Thursday; called the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."  The bill would lower the corporate tax rate to 20%, repeal most personal exemptions and increase the standardized deduction.  The bill lays out an expanded child tax credit while reducing deductions for dependent college students.  State and local tax deductions would be eliminated.

Supporters have claimed for decades that tax cuts encourage corporate investment and help working Americans keep more of the money they earn.  Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said the bill " . . . is for the middle-class families in this country who deserve a break. It is for the families who are out there living paycheck to paycheck who just keep getting squeezed."

Critics argue it is a wealth grab benefiting only the 1%; Public Citizen calls the bill "a massive payback to the political donor class, conferring untold riches on those who don't need it - the superrich and giant corporations." 

On the Friday edition of WITF's Smart Talk, we'll discuss the bill with U.S. Representative Scott Perry, the Republican Congressman representing Adams and York Counties as well as parts of Dauphin and Cumberland Counties.

Also, Governor Wolf signed into law legislation that would substantially expand the state's gambling footprint.  The passage of expansion took place, as stated by the governor before the Pennsylvania Press Club, because "There's been a lot of pressure from a lot of places in the Commonwealth to actually expand (gambling) and we do need some recurring revenue." 

The bill allows for gambling at truck stops, airports and online as well as license ten new brick-and-mortar casinos to existing gaming entities.  Pennsylvania trails only Nevada in commercial gaming revenues. 

Critics have argued that gaming isn't an appropriate source of tax revenue; Peach Bottom state representative Bryan Cutler told the LNP in March "Every time we've counted on gambling in the budget those revenues have undershot it or something unexpected has happened, such as the decrease of the lottery fund in response to the expansion of table games."  Last week, Cutler voted in support of the expansion.

A 2016 report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government indicated that "In the short-run, states indeed do raise additional revenues due to expansion of gambling activities and facilities. However, history shows that in the long-run the growth in state revenues from gambling activities slows or even reverses and declines."  Smart Talk will speak with Dr. David Schwartz, director of UNLV's Center for Gaming Research about the viability of relying on gaming tax revenue to meet budget shortfalls.

Later, we'll discuss educating and preparing ourselves for acts of terrorism.  A radicalized ISIS adherent drove a rented truck down a bike path in Manhatten on Tuesday, killing eight and injuring twelve.  

Dr. Duane Hagelgans currently serves on the South Central Pennsylvania Counter Terrorism Task Force (SCTF) and the Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency and teaches diaster and emergency management at Millersville University; he joins Smart Talk to discuss ways to spot suspicious activity.


- why were there no public hearings by the Ways and Means Committee where various experts contribute to the shaping and commenting on this legislation? This bill seem to be written outside of Congress and then submitted to Congress for an up or down vote. Who actually wrote this proposed legislation....a lobbyist or Congressional Committee?                                                      - Craig

- Please ask your guest to cite the research that supports his assertion that tax cuts lead to growth, income increases, ... All studies, repeat all studies, do NOT support that. Ever hear of Kansas?                                          - Ben, Crlisle

- President Bush 43 enacted higher-earner tax cuts to stimulate the economy by trickle-down principles in 2002 or 2003. It had a ten year sunset provision. And it had a significant increase in the deficit. That higher income deduction was extended forever about five years ago. Why should there be such a high earner tax cut again?     - Carl

- As a seasonal tax preparer, in my personal opinion, we should:

  1.  have one rate for everyone with only your income up to the poverty rate for your family size exempt from tax
  2. All income not from the government should be considered the same.
  3. Since the Supreme Court has decided that Corporations are people they should pay the same rate - it could be on either Income or Net Profits, but losses should not carry over to another year
  4. Most Importantly If Spending for the Year exceeds Income for the Year the tax rate should be increased by .1% for each 1% Spending exceeds Income And  If Income for the Year exceeds Spending for the Year the tax rate should be reduced by .1% for each 1% Income exceeds Spending.                                                               - Blaine, Delta

- Maybe Mr. Perry should familiarize himself with the problems in Kansas that resulted from this same type of trickle down economics before he begins touting this plan.                                        - Walt

- The Congressman is a hypocrite. His opinion is now irrelevant.                           - Phil, Lebanon

- Come on.  George H W Bush called this stuff Voodoo Economics.  And even when a caller points out the debacle in Kansas, you let him slip away with "Gee I don't know about that".  YOU should have been armed with Kansas!  And how California RAISED taxes and surged.  This whole tax cut idea is stupid.  You should have a REAL Economist on to straighten this out.  I don't know, maybe NOBEL PRIZE WINNER Paul Krugman.  The only ones pushing this tax cut idea are the ultra-rich and those politicians and a few economists who are IN THEIR POCKETS.  You're shilling for the right when you don't stand up to these lies.  Come on.   - John

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