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Ongoing Budget Crisis Could Start Affecting State Services Next Week

Matt Rourke
The Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa. Monday, July 10, 2017.

The Pennsylvania budget crisis continues. Governor Tom Wolf said there will be no cuts or delays in state services if lawmakers can reach an agreement on how to fund the $32 billion budget by October 1st. That means the legislature has nine days to come up with more than $2.2 billion. And now, complicating the conversation, a credit rating agency downgraded Pennsylvania's credit rating.

Here to discuss the negotiations and the implications for taxpayers are Natasha Lindstrom, reporter from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Brad Bumsted, bureau chief for The Caucus.

Later in the show:

The Republican-controlled Senate intends to vote on the Graham-Cassidy plan, the latest in a series of GOP proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, by September 30th—the last day that budget rules will allow them to pass a plan with only Republican votes. Supporters say the new plan will ease the sharply rising cost of health insurance, but detractors say millions will lose coverage.

While much of the debate over health care legislation has been about numbers, the journalists at PublicSource want to inject the conversation with names, voices and stories. Joining us to talk about that effort is PublicSource managing editor, Hallee Stockton.

And finally:

At least 66 journalists in the U.S. have been attacked, arrested, stopped at a border, threatened or denied access in 2017, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. As attacks on the press continue to grow, National Press Club President Jeff Ballou returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh to discuss why these attacks matter for us all and what we can do about it.

Jeff Ballou, Kim Palmiero, president of the Press Club of Western PA, and Akemi Harrison, executive producer for WPXI Television and member of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, talk us through the major issues journalists face today.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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