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)

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 Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk Friday: Universities leaving state system, public pensions, nasty state senate race

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 13, 2014 3:09 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday:

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Are some of Pennsylvania's state-owned universities becoming too big for the State System of Higher Education?

Two lawmakers think that may be the case and are proposing legislation that would allow universities to leave the PSSHE.  Critics say if one or more of the 14 state-owned schools drop out, costs for the others would be higher.  That could mean bigger tuition bills for students and families.

We'll talk with Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), one of the bill's sponsors.

Also, Democrats in the state senate came up with a plan this week to fund pensions for retired state workers and educators, including teachers.  It's estimated the pensions are underfunded by about $50 billion and growing by almost $4 million a day.

Republican House member Glen Grell is one of the leaders in the legislature on this issue and has made a proposal similar to the senate Democrat's plan that includes borrowing $9 billion.  Rep. Grell joins us on Friday's program.

In addition, we'll cover the week in review at the state capitol, a hard-hitting state senate campaign in York County, and a sure sign of spring -- thousands of snow geese return to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon County. 

Listen to the program:

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Comments: 4

  • Kurt Grotz img 2014-03-14 08:25

    The Rich Get Richer and the Poor get Poorer! Plain and simple. A 30 year buy-out process is not the future - that is tomorrow. In 30 years the other State Schools will suffer for sure! Funny how Cheyney, the oldest traditionally Black College in the US is referred to most often by Tommlinson as one of those "other" "these" schools. Please mention this to listeners. And Mansfield - is probably the smallest of the schools serving a broad northern tier area in PA. West Chester should be lifting up their brothers and sisters and not running away.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-03-14 08:38

    E-mail from Thomas in Manheim Tonwship:

    my one question is this.....up to 2003 this pension fund was over funded and benefits were increased. i want to know what caused this problem? this system was in perfect condition until the state did not follow their own plan by funding the pension and relying on the stock market. why???? why penalize the retiree's when the state caused this problem. (i am a state and school employee under multiple service) also remember you increased the multiplier when the law makers gave themselves a 50% increase in the multiplier.

    thank you
    thomas w. hauck
    manheim twp pa

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-03-14 08:40

    E-mail from "tjhlan":

    Good to hear a 'new' view but.....

    Since the teachers paid their part- all these years--why is it that those who promised, in a contract, to pay their part, don't want to?
    Please let us have an answer to that.

    Also, pick any year and study the last three and see the trend of new hires not staying in teaching......why do think that is.....?

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-03-14 09:24

    Linda commented...that an aspect that needs more attention is that the pensions of legislators are outrageous, especially compared to regular state workers. It should be addressed as well.

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