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.

Hosted by: Scott LaMar



Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Matt Paul and witf Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.

Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson



witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

Radio Smart Talk: Teacher pensions; spelling contest

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Feb 22, 2013 8:45 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, February 22:

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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.

witf-spelling-bee-600x340-thumb-300x170-4084-thumb-280xauto-4649.jpgUnder 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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Comments: 2

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-02-22 09:22

    E-mail from Tim:

    "1. Anyone who thinks that a 401(k) is the same thing as a pension is an idiot. Just ask the average person whose 401(k) lost 40% of its value when the economy went south. People cannot retire if they cannot be confident that their income will be consistent. 401(k)s provide no such assurance. All they do is siphon more money into the pockets of financial managers. If we can't stand to honor our promises, the better option is an IRA or other defined benefit plan.

    2. The other day the folks from PICPA were running through their proposals for improving our economy. I was particularly offended that they were willing to raise taxes to ensure that investors get their returns on bonds for roads and bridges but not to ensure that people who have worked for decades will get the pensions that will give them a secure retirement. It says something about how little we value people."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-02-22 10:02

    E-mail from Melody:

    "This is so fun to listen to! "Doom", by the way translates to something akin to much or very. Dino abrogation means much thanks. It can also be used as a greeting."

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