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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

On-time budget, behind-schedule redistricting

Written by Katie Meyer | Jun 22, 2018 8:55 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 22, 2018:

In a departure from about ten years of unhappy tradition, Pennsylvania lawmakers are on the brink of passing a budget before the June 30th deadline.

Their proposal has made it through the House and, as of Friday morning, is awaiting final Senate consideration. It's a mostly status-quo bill--spending $32.7 billion, or about 1.7 percent more than last year's plan.

That extra cash doesn't come from any new revenue (there's none in the plan) but instead, from strong returns in the 2017-18 fiscal year, healthy projections next year, and some internal transfers. Plus, election year pressures are giving lawmakers extra incentive to agree to a plan and get out of Harrisburg fast.

The new money largely goes toward pension and healthcare obligations, plus a bump in education spending, including a new $60 million fund for school safety.

WITF's Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer leads a discussion on the ins and outs of the budget plan with Capitolwire Bureau Chief Chris Comisac and Marc Levy of the Associated Press--plus explains why all budget numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Chris Comisac and Marc Levy

We'll also provide an update on lawmakers' long-awaited congressional redistricting overhaul, which seems increasingly unlikely to pass the House in time to impact the 2021 redistricting process.

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