This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Back to Charter School


Radio Program Schedule for the week of August 27, 2016 – September 2, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  •  David Taylor from the PA Manufacturers Association and James Paul of the Commonwealth Foundation have a Capitol Watch look at the importance of charter schools
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the eye of the budget storm

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Patrick Hedger of the Charles Koch Institute about extending tax breaks to special interests
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the Arizona and Florida primaries
  • Eric Boehm talks with Sam Gedge of the Institute for Justice about free speech rights under assault in Colorado
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the persistence of socialists

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Eye of the Storm


By Lowman S. Henry

As August melts into September the halls of the state capitol building are relatively quiet. This is a marked contrast to a year ago when state government was in what turned out to be the early phases of the longest budget stalemate in state history.  This year the budget, or at least the spending part of it, was done reasonably close to the constitutionally-mandated June 30th deadline, the revenue component followed several weeks later.

But is this just the eye of the storm?

In capitulating to too many of Governor Tom Wolf’s spending demands the state legislature larded up the budget with nearly $1.4 billion in new expenditures.  This despite claims of a $1.5 billion dollar “structural deficit” the governor claimed needed to be addressed.  Even those using Common Core math can calculate that left the state nearly $3 billion in the hole.

To pay for this spending orgy some $650 million in new taxes were cobbled together, and accounting gimmicks employed, to produce a “balanced” budget.  But the budget isn’t really balanced and even that $650 million contains projected revenue that will never actually materialize.  For example, lawmakers planned to charge the state’s casinos $1 million each to purchase 24-hour liquor licenses.  Apparently nobody thought to ask if the casinos wanted such licenses, as there now appears to be no takers.

The budget also includes revenue from on-line gambling.  The problem is legislation has yet to be passed authorizing on-line gambling.  After adopting the budget, the General Assembly adjourned for a two month recess delaying any possible revenue from that source deep into the fiscal year.

And, predictably, the taxes that were hiked on existing businesses are having a dramatic negative impact.  A 40% tax imposed on vaping supplies is driving many vaping stores – almost all of which are small businesses – out of business.  That means not only will projected revenue from the tax fall short, but the state will also lose out on sales tax revenue as the stores shutter their doors.

That Republicans in the legislature caved into $1.4 billion in new spending defied logic.  The GOP had fought an epic budget battle with the governor the previous fiscal year and won. Not only did they win, but not a single lawmaker seeking re-election was denied by voters due to the budget fight.  After posting a historic win, Republicans essentially forfeited the next game.

All of these elements are coming together to produce the perfect fiscal storm as budget talks begin for next year.  Don’t forget that “structural deficit” of $1.4 billion hasn’t been addressed.  A significant portion of the new taxes enacted this year will fail to materialize.  And, Governor Wolf continues to demand a lengthy menu of spending hikes – and the taxes to pay for them.

Making matters worse the governor and the legislature have not been able to agree on how to deal with cost drivers, particularly the skyrocketing cost of public employee pensions.  Pension costs are gobbling up the lion’s share of any new revenue produced by a still slow-growing state economy.  Republicans have passed pension reform only to see it vetoed by Governor Wolf. There are new legislative proposals on the drawing board, but they fall woefully short of resolving the problem.  Even if some reform is enacted it will likely have minimal impact on the upcoming 2017-18 state budget.

Given all of this, will Republicans stick to their pledge that without addressing cost drivers they will not enact broad-based tax hikes – such as raising the personal income tax, expanding and/or raising sales taxes – or  will they again cave into the governor’s tax and spending demands?  Much rides on the outcome of this looming budget fight, primarily the fiscal health of the commonwealth.

But, 2018 is a gubernatorial election year and this budget will be enacted as the campaign heats up.  Governor Wolf, if he seeks re-election, will want to show his base voters that he delivered the goods of higher spending.  Republican voters will judge the GOP-controlled legislature by their ability to resist higher spending and more taxes.  Add these competing political imperatives to the state’s perilous fiscal circumstances and we should brace ourselves for the second wave of the hurricane.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitue.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Easing Apprenticeship Rules


Radio Program Schedule for the week of August 20, 2016 – August 26, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • Lowman Henry talks with State Representative Steven Mentzer (R-Lancaster) about efforts to ease apprenticeship rules so more workers can be trained for skilled jobs
  •  Frank Gamrat and Eric Montarti have an Allegheny Institute Report on how the City of Pittsburgh is doing financially
  • Beth Anne Mumford has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on National Employee Freedom Week

This week on American Radio Journal:

  •  Lowman Henry has a Newsmakerinterview with U.S. Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) about congressional efforts at criminal justice reform
  • Andy Roth has the Real Story on the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on the riots in Milwaukee
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on unpopular presidential candidates

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Vaping Industry Goes Up In Smoke


Radio Program Schedule for the week of August 13, 2016 – August 19, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association hosts a Capitol Watch look at the impact of new taxes on the e-cigarette and vaping industry with Matthew Brouillette of Commonwealth Partners and Neal Lesher from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on a congressional candidates who offers a choice, not an echo

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about the Trump and Clinton economic plans
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the impact of Trump’s falling poll number on U.S. Senate candidates
  • Eric Boehm and Will Patrick have a Watchdog Radio Report on Florida ending film tax credits
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on the importance of this year’s presidential election

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes


Radio Program Schedule for the week of August 6, 2016 – August 12, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Elizabeth Stelle of the Commonwealth Foundation about tax hikes which went into effect August 1st
  • Joe Geiger of the First Nonprofit Foundation has Jen Sensenig of the North Star Initiative in the Nonprofit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford from Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on state government’s spending addiction

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Bryan Riley of the Heritage Foundation about the benefits of free trade agreements
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on August primary elections
  • Eric Boehm has a Watchdog Radio Report on why Chicago is fortunate not to be hosting the Olympic games
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Bellwether: PA Again the Keystone State


If early polls are any indication, Pennsylvania is posed to be one of the major battleground states as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton enter the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign. Some polls give Mrs. Clinton a one to three point edge; others place Mr. Trump in the lead by the same margin.  Both campaigned here pre-convention and voters likely will see a lot of the candidates and their running mates now that the general election phase of campaign is underway.

In political parlance Penn’s Woods can be viewed as one giant focus group.  We are, in many ways, a microcosm of America.  Philadelphia is a large eastern city; Pittsburgh is a mid-sized, mid-western city, with smaller cities like Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton and Allentown dotting the map.  We have thriving suburbs in the collar counties outside of Philadelphia and in places like Washington and Westmoreland counties near Pittsburgh. And, of course we have vast rural expanses.

Pennsylvania is economically diverse as well.  Manufacturing has struggled – as it has nationwide, but the commonwealth is home to high tech industries, pharmaceutical research, world-class medical centers, and thriving retail centers.  We have abundant natural resources, especially gas reserves and coal and fields overflowing with everything from apples to corn.

The diversity of our state’s economy has shielded it from the outer fringes of economic booms and busts, but for a variety of reasons having to do with both federal and state public policy our business climate remains stagnant with slow growth causing frustration across the economic spectrum.

A rare point of agreement is that the nation is sharply divided on how to proceed.  At times we can’t even agree on what the problems are, much less arrive at a consensus on solutions.  Against this backdrop, the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research surveyed delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions to determine how big of a divide separates the two parties.

The delegations begin with polar opposite views on the role of government itself.  When asked whether the federal government is an adversarial force when it comes to helping to solve problems, or is it a positive force in helping people 97% of the Republican delegation said government is an adversarial force.  Democrats were almost evenly split on the question, with 52% viewing government as a positive force, and 48% saying it is adversarial.

There is disagreement on an even more fundamental question: whether we as Americans have natural rights that are God-given, or are our rights granted to us by government.  Again, Republicans were nearly unanimous with 97% saying our rights come from God. A majority of Democrats – 61% – think our rights are granted to us by government; 39% say our rights are God-given.

Pennsylvania’s delegations to the Republican and Democratic national conventions have vastly different views as to which issues should top the national agenda with one exception: Supreme Court nominations.  Both delegations place the selection of nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States on their lists of top three important issues.  From there the delegations diverge.  Republicans place the protecting of constitutional rights and ISIS/terrorism in their top three; Democrats are concerned about income inequality and the development of alternate energy sources.

As could be expected, the delegations have sharply different views on the impact of the Obama Administration.  For example, 70% of the Democratic delegation believes the administration’s foreign policies have made America more secure; 99% of Republicans say they have made the nation less secure.  Ninety percent of Democrats say the Obama approach to ISIS/international terrorism is on the right track; 100% of the Republican delegation said it is on the wrong track.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has made illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign for the presidency.  Twenty-six percent of the Republican delegates/alternate delegates backed his call for banning all Muslims from entering the country; 64% support banning entry from countries that are hotbeds of terrorist activity.  Not a single member of the Democratic delegation backed banning all Muslims with 97% saying current laws are sufficient.

Do the two delegations agree on anything?  The closest they come to agreement is on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership.  Here Democrats disagree with President Obama, who is the main proponent of the deal, with 69% opposing TPP.  Sixty-one percent of the Republican delegation also oppose the free trade agreement.

The deep ideological and policy divisions among the state’s delegations to their respective national conventions reflect the electorate at large.  The battle for Pennsylvania will be hard fought between two vastly different views of where the nation is today and of America’s future.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman/CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Energy Infrastructure


Radio Program Schedule for the week of July 30, 2016 – August 5, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAWatchdog.org
  • David Taylor from the PA Manufacturers Association has a Capitol Watch look at the need for pipelines to get natural gas to market with Pam Witmer of UGI Energy Services and Kevin Sunday from the PA Chamber of Business & Industry
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why Pennsylvania will be the Keystone State in the upcoming presidential election

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Kimberley Strassel about her new book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine
  • Eric Boehm gets a report on the Democratic National Convention from Matt Kittle on this week’s Watchdog Radio Report
  • Colin Hanna from Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the national presidential nominating conventions

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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