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

Radio Smart Talk: Gov. Tom Corbett

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 4, 2013 8:06 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, January 4:

corbett presser 300 x 170.jpg

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will appear on Friday's Radio Smart Talk.

The Commonwealth faces many challenging issues like a tight budget, an aging population, pensions for retired public employees that are underfunded, and finding billions of dollars to upgrade the state's transportation infrstructure.

All this comes at a time when additional revenue is hard to come by and Gov. Corbett has ruled out increased taxes or fees.

We'll discuss these issues and others with the governor.

Among them: Just this week, the Commonwealth filed suit against the NCAA over the sanctions the college sports governing body leveled against Penn State last summer.  The sanctions came after the Freeh Report found that officials at Penn State allegedly covered up and didn't report at least one account of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually molesting a young boy.

Corbett said this week the sanctions are harming the state, Centre County and Penn State economically, weren't within the NCAA's jurisdiction to hand out, and were designed to enhance the NCAA's reputation.

The sanctions include a $60 million fine for Penn State, a four-year bowl ban, 15 fewer football scholarships in each of the next four years, and vacates Nittany Lion wins from 1998-2011.

The Corbett Administration is also taking steps to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery in order to generate more money.  Lottery proceeds fund programs for older Pennsylvanians and the Administration has said an aging population may require additional revenue to pay for those programs.

Camelot Global Services was the lone bidder and indicates it will bring in more than $34 billion over the next 20 years.  The bid was originally set to expire December 31, but has been extended to January 10.  Both Democrats and Republicans have been critical -- saying the process has been handled too quickly without input from the legislature or the public.

Listen to the program:


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  • Jim Foster img 2013-01-04 08:34

    Here's a question for the Governor.

    Gov. Corbett, with all due respect, it is hard to see how your decision to sue the NCAA over the Sandusky sanctions is anything other than a crass political move designed to deflect criticism from the incoming Attorney General and others that you didn't pursue the case against Sandusky vigorously enough. I don't see how the facts and circumstances have changed since you said last year that Penn State should accept the sanctions. Please defend your decision.

  • Dave img 2013-01-04 08:56

    I would like to ask the gov. what legitimate reason he has, other than politically speaking, to sue the NCAA given the fact that:

    1. PSU has accepted the punishment from the NCAA
    2. This suit could potentially cost Pennsylvanians millions that we can't afford

    If this is not a political decision then:

    1. Why did he wait until after football season to file this suit
    2. Why did he get the blessing from the outgoing attorney general instead of consulting the incoming AG
    3. Why did he not do this a year ago (and please do not say you wanted to get all of the facts, that is a cop out) and wait until the "political season" approaches

    I do not believe Mr. Corbett has the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania in mind as much as he does his own political agenda. I am so tired of Republicans and their me, me, me politics. PSU failed, the leadership failed and Mr. Corbett you failed as the attorney general when you had your chance to explore these accusations and now you are failing as Pennsylvania's leader trying to score political points by taking advantage of this situation. Please just give this up and let the healing continue, you certainly have more important thing to do that would better serve your constituents.

    Before you discount these comments as just another liberal with an anti-Republican agenda, please note that I am:

    1. A registered Republican embarrassed yet again by my parties political games and partisan politics by sticking their head in the sand and digging their heels in because they would rather take their ball and go home than work across the aisle to create a better future for ALL Pennsylvanians.

    2. A PSU alum who is disgusted by the disgraceful acts of the PSU leadership and the culture that continues to fail to accept the consequences for their actions or lack of actions that significantly enabled Sandusky's actions.

    Thank you


  • Jeanine Pranses img 2013-01-04 09:00

    Please ask Governor Corbett how much money he's received as campaign contributions from the very profitable Charter School industry, and how those contributions affect his decision-making process around public education funding.

  • Dawn L. King img 2013-01-04 09:09

    Any time I heard privatization, an increase in a corporation's profit margin comes to mind. The proceeds of the lottery are going to benefit older Pennsylvanians, so how is privatizing the lottery going to continue to benefit older Pennsylvanians? Can you explain how such an action won't provide a greater benefit to the organization?

    In terms of the lawsuit against the NCAA, how is the Commonwealth going to pay for this? You and many other Republican leaders constantly talk about the need to reduce the government spending, yet this be a huge cost. How does spending exorbitant amounts of money on high prices lawyers to sue the NCAA have more precidence over education--of which you've cut by about a $1 Billion since you've been Governor?

  • Dawn L. King img 2013-01-04 09:14

    Must the Governor be so snippy and condenscending when taken out of his comfort zone? As a public servant, he knew that criticism comes with the territory and needs to just roll with the punches.

  • Dave img 2013-01-04 09:26

    Gov Corbett stated:

    1. Ticket sales are down
    2. The business community is suffering a 10% loss
    3. This is the right thing to do for PA
    4. This will be a long tough fight
    5. The president of the University signed the sanctions free of the approval of the Board of Trustees and has the right to do so

    I say:

    1. Who cares about ticket sales in comparison to these acts. I gave my tickets up because of the cover up.
    2. Every PSU alum, fan, Pennsylvanian is suffering because of Sandusky's actions and the PSU cover up.
    3. What Pennsylvanian has asked you to file this? Seems to me you are being overwhelmed with negative comments regarding your decision.
    4. This will be a tough fight, I agree, costing PA taxpayers millions of dollars. Does it make sense to spend 100 million of tax dollars to save PSU 60 million?
    5. The president signed without the need to consult the board as you admitted, so why sue, the President had the right to accept these sanctions by your own statement.

  • Ronald John img 2013-01-04 09:28

    The issues of funding pensions and transportation needs appear to be getting needed attention. One of the gross inequities in the tax code is that pensions are totally exempt from PA income tax. This is particularly irritating when I read about pensions of multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then, if the person is 65 we give him free bus pass.

    Would you consider revisions in the tax code which would tax pensions, at least those that exceed the average income of working Pennsylvanians?

  • Dave img 2013-01-04 09:31

    Want to stop the lawsuit?

    Vote Corbett out this fall and elect someone with some common sense and ask him/her to repeal Corbett's self serving suit.

  • Lisa img 2013-01-04 09:36

    This lawsuit sends a mixed message to the victims of Sandusky. Gov. Corbett, as you said, remember the children. The Penn State football culture was equally as guilty of molesting those children through the coverup that went on for years allowing even more children to be affected. Withdraw this costly lawsuit that is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but also a slap in the face to the victims of Jerry Sandusky. The sanctions imposed have nothing to do with the football business having dropped -- that drop can be directly tied to coach Sandusky's actions.

  • Dawn L. King img 2013-01-04 09:42

    Governor, you said you want to spend more money on education, but you cut over $1 Billion in education spending? With all due respect, either you are trying to do damage control or need to make up your mind.

  • Dave Fisher img 2013-01-04 09:44

    In my view, the fine by the NCAA is not directed toward nor is its primary effect to punish past, present and future students, faculty and staff of PSU. The problem at PSU is primarily a systemic one that has developed over a period of decades. The system/culture of PSU, particularly as regards the football program, became unhealthy and dysfunctional. Power, authority and money have been used at the university and in the State College community in many and various ways to protect the football program. An example that appeared to be "innocent" enough over the years was the arrangement between Coach Paterno and the State College police force, which resulted in football players who engaged in relatively minor offenses being delivered to Paterno rather than being dealt with under the law. While the legal guilt or innocence of administrators going to trial has yet to be determined, there is no doubt that many people have been complicit in minor and major ways that have enabled an unhealthy culture to develop at PSU and in the State College community. Prosecution of individuals is one thing; making significant changes to a culture that enabled a range of bad behaviors is imperative. At the very least, the action by the NCAA has clearly pointed in this direction. I think that arguing over who gets the $60 million trivializes the deeper issues to which the NCAA has pointed and about which many in this Commonwealth are concerned.

  • Steve_Radtke img 2013-01-04 09:45

    Please Gov. Explain how you can say a word about mental health and guns, when you consistently have lowered the budget for Mental Health funding. I work with mental health population and it's consistently an issue. Too bad there's not enough money for the gov's office from helping people with needs, opposed to those with funding from the gun market. Hypocrit. Can't wait until 2014 elections.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-04 10:26

    E-mail from Cathy:

    "If you have time could you please ask him if he will encourage any legislation to change how our school systems are funded? It is sad to see seniors on limited income who technically will never own their homes who have no way to keep paying the high taxes on their homes. No one in PA truly ever owns their home due to our current tax structure.

    Good job today Scott, as always! I always appreciate your fairness."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-04 10:26

    E-mail from Lee:

    "If there will be a review of pensions and the system of pensions, will a modification of pensions for State Legislators be part of the discussion? I believe that their pension system costs more per person than other public employees, so maybe that should be where the reforms start."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-04 10:27

    E-mail from Gregory:

    "Gov. Corbett said current state employees with a few years service may have their pensions changed. What does he consider a few years?"

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-04 10:28

    E-mail from John:

    "Bob Dylan said it best in his song 'Summer Days':

    'Here's the politician, got on his running shoes, Must be running for office, got no time to lose..
    Sucking the blood out of the genius of generosity...'"

  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-01-04 11:02

    Elected officials like Corbett who proclaim that "I am not doing this for political reasons" immediately lose all credibility with me. EVERYTHING they do in office is being done for political reason....if Corbett were to say "I am not doing this for personal gain" I might be partially swayed, but separating the private self from the public self when it's the public self doing the talking is a stretch.

    Corbett's main theme today, as it's been all along, is that "if we had the money I would spend it on ___, ____, ____" (education, infrastructure, social programs, etc) when it is patently clear that the money is actually being targeted elsewhere by his administration.
    His notion that privatization of commonwealth functions is in "the best interest" of the commonwealth citizens is one of the biggest lies I have heard -----when the actual benefit is to the private ownership, not the citizens. Adding in new corporate owners to do what the State has funded and done for itself only takes revenue away from the State and gives it to the corporate owners (donors?). Proclaiming that privatization is for us----???-----when it's not????
    That's one big lie, Governor Corbett....coming from someone who doesn't act "for political gain," but someone who took a million $ in contributions from the Marcellus drillers he promised he wouldn't tax.

    "The essence of politics is making it seem it's not political." (Me)

    • Dave img 2013-01-04 11:33

      Well said.

      If Corbett wanted to put money into this, this, and this, "but the funds just aren't there" (so he says), take the money that you are using to sue the NCAA and put it back where it will bring greater good, our schools.

      Just more lies and double talk...

  • 19shane img 2013-01-04 15:17

    As Attorney General, Tom Corbett received over $647,000 in campaign contributions from members of the Second Mile Foundation, while only assigning one investigator to the case.

    Meanwhile, at the same time, he assigned 14 investigators to Bill Deweese, who spent more than 5 years trying to get him.

    It is difficult to believe these campaign contributions did not improperly influence his decision to not file charges against Jerry Sandusky.

    The state police trooper who initially handled the Clinton County case against Jerry Sandusky believed there was enough evidence from a teenage boy -- now known as Victim One-- to charge Sandusky with indecent assault.