Radio 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. Radio Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on witf’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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TV Smart Talk: From politics to economy, from health care to the environment, WITF's TV Smart Talk covers the issues and ideas that matter to you. It's never been easier to discover and share the news and information of your world and ours.
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Radio Smart Talk for Friday, February 22:
Pennsylvania is facing a $41 billion shortfall in public employee and educator pensions. Pensions for the Pennsylvania School Employee Retirement System make up most of the gap. It is underfunded by some $26.5 billion.
Several factors led to the pension fund coming up short -- the state didn't make enough or any contributions for several years and investments badly underperformed when the economy tanked in 2008.
Whether the public pension issue is a crisis depends on who you talk to, but the situation is dire enough that Gov. Tom Corbett has offered a plan he says will solve the problem.
Under Corbett's proposal, nothing will change for former public employees and educators who are already retired. But the governor wants current and future workers moved into a 401K type plan rather than a defined benefit. Current employees would keep what they earned up until now. Corbett also wants to change the formula by which the pensions of current workers in determined.
Reaction to Corbett's plan has been mixed but teachers and their unions don't like it at all.
Appearing on Friday's Radio Smart Talk to explain why will be Michael Crossey, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teacher's union.
Also, The Grand Championship of witf's 2013 Central PA Spelling Bee is set for this weekend. It has become a tradition on Radio Smart Talk to stage a spelling contest amongst several staff members preceding the Spelling Bee. We'll do that F-R-I-D-A-Y.
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