Pennsylvania Newsmakers 8/31/14: Legislative Update, and History of Credit Unions

welcome to Pennsylvania newsmakers and as for watching well in this program we preview the return of the for the Fall session of the Pennsylvania legislature and what would the program be like if we didn’t take a look at the governor’s race and then our popular financial literacy update let’s get to it this is Pennsylvania newsmakers a fast paced unrehearsed weekly discussion with and about the leaders who shape your world and now here’s your host Terry Madonna well we have a lot to talk about on this edition of Pennsylvania newsmakers we got two of the state’s leading leading journalists veteran journalist let me there’s nothing to do with age it has to do with the number of years they’ve covered Harrisburg and politics in this state John my ciggies the editorial page editor of the harrisburg patriot-news and PennLive and robert Swifties with time shamrock newspapers they own a bunch of newspapers up in the northeastern part of the state all right John let me let me start with you the legislature is coming back and they have a full agenda but the question is they’ve had this agenda in some cases for two years and they’re in for a short period of time one month let’s go through some of the but what is the one or two of the things you think they have to do yeah its elite I mean it’s one month but it’s a line with my funds Oakland of 12 legislative days I mean of course they can stretch the calendar if they want to but I meets all the stuff that’s left over from before isn’t it if we’re talking pension reform liquor maybe you know we’ll see on that they have to do something about the Philadelphia schools that’s that’s probably priority number one if you ain’t that one because if the school district has had something like a hundred million 85 million they absolutely had to have right to open the school’s the governor promised and how are they going to pay for that all right well what happens the legislature bugged out back in June without acting on this two-dollar pack cigarette in city philly only cigarette tax increase that they wanted to use to help fund the schools there the governor back july beginning of august advanced of about 250 million dollars of the education subsidy money that they would have been getting this yet many anyway but they still need another as you said 100 billion 585 a hundred million or so for operational costs and that money hasn’t come across yet and that’s what they’re supposed to be getting from the cigarette tax superintendent down there was making noises about laying off laying off teachers there are some doubt as to whether the school’s we’re going to open on time the injection of cash will allow for the opening of schools but still there’s this cash gap there so if they do nothing else they do zero they’ve got it they get into this one thing all right I don’t think there’s any doubt Robert that the governor has and we’ll talk about the race in a minute but has a lot at stake on pensions I mean he has made it a huge part of his first term agenda the legislature is not on board there’s all various types of what do I want to say pension reform proposals on the table I think I got what is all that stage I don’t think I things going to happen with it even let a few days ago House Leader Mike true they sat down with few lists and his big gambit was too they were going to send a letter to the house Democratic leaders for meeting to hear their suggestions and what they should do about the long-term pension debt in that well that should have been something done you know in january twenty thirty last year yes you know what what so what’s that what is that your new thing you know so i just don’t see it happening I in innocence month long termer here and I other things are even other issues that they could be doing like you here I can’t tell you how many times Center apologies talk about the right to know law update in that and you get you obviously something that they’re dear to the heart of journalists and I just think okay so they sit that’s once again another we’re coming back this fall but I just see this stuff all being put off yeah well Segoe having a sense of urgency the kind of view that you really detect that when it’s things are at stake isn’t there it’s being driven as you know as you point out by the electoral calendar I think there’s a sense that they’re going to wait and see how the election shakes out and then whoever’s in charge come January he can deal with it yeah I’m going to talk about the legislative election just briefly but look one of the issues that pulls overwhelmingly and it’s got bipartisan support in the Senate and something like what 2325 states now have medical marijuana you’ve got the one of the most conservative state senators Mike former from Lebanon you’ve got one of the most liberal senators a Montgomery County

senator where does that is there any prospects that that would pass the governor has said it will support a pilot program what you know john i’ll start with yeah we had senator Fullmer and whose local to pennlive I into the Edit board end of July and he said at the time that his sense was that the sentiment that the bill would be kicked out of committee that the Senate would have a vote on it sometime first second week after they come back send you over to the house and is september-october September there abouts but that’s what runs into trouble because there’s still some resistance in the house to doing this bill so the Senate could very well pass something and then it can just wither ever in the house and nothing happens one of the other big issues that we heard an awful lot about Robert the in the first two years in almost nothing since has been liquor privatization a full privatization bill trans translation and the monopoly the state has over the state sale of alcohol license it out completely now we’re there a hybrid plant go ahead the best time to have done that would have been the first year of the governor’s first term 2011 it didn’t get done and now you still have even once again House Leader Mike Turzai trying to to let that window there was a gambit about a bill to you and this fine for people who buy look around a state and bring it home for consumption that’s sort of surfacing but even then i’m at this point uh I just don’t see that you know I mean I thought when you know I followed this debate that they might do some hybrid John my cick where they keep the liquor operation but expand the sale of wine and spirits translation hard alcohol liquor into multiple retail outlets you’d think that might and that seems to be the sense in the Senate yeah if I got that correctly yeah I mean there was there was I think there was a proposal kicking around the Senate but they never you know they were but the bill out that would have broadened wine sales in in grocery stores yeah the you had the beer distributors digging over that you know the distilled spirit Council guys dig in over that because everyone’s afraid that their own little fiefdom is going to somehow be eaten away by the expansion and other outlets like convenience stores and grossman ladders but neither of you would put up give that a reasonable chance of passage no all right we’re going to run to a break we talked a little bit about right to know there’s also how long should government agencies keep their email what is the right to know of the public we’re going to get into that subject and the governor’s race after these words this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the Pennsylvania chamber of business and industry the statewide voice of business this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by the Pennsylvania highway information Association the go-to source to learn about transportation projects and issues please visit PA highway info o RG and by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association business in Pennsylvania is our business welcome back i’m talking about John my sick and Robert Swift both journalists who covered the state capitol for a long long time Robert let me start with you on this there’s this ongoing story that seems to not have an end in sight about Ron tomales a former Secretary of Education who was accused of by some of being a ghost employee making almost 140,000 but not showing up for work I don’t want to get into the debate over whether he did work or not that we’ve talked about that before that’s a subject you know that probably is going to not get resolved anytime soon but in this in when reporters have dug into this they have found what about the email connected to all of this is that the Education Department you know gets rid of them at the end of the day then you have a separate case going on with a Penn State Education Department emails related to the Penn State Sandusky case where someone else is trying to get those emails and that’s where it exposed this gap of how many emails are out there you know in a lot of are tied back to Ron tomalis but the question is if and it appears that some other agencies may be dumping emails to some question is if those emails are being dumped and what how does the public ever really get a handle on what kind of maybe policy discussions are being done at the state government level that was the right is the right you know all just to get d you know maybe for spending to what they spent on stuff is that what is limited to is there anything we just went through this with Lois Lerner in the IRS and you know the

fact that they can’t find her emails and all that which all you know all of that seems can’t we just get a policy that says is you know how long these will be kept in what will be kept John weigh in on that yeah I mean there’s supposedly overhaul the open records law that’s going on now in the state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is working on that but I mean it’s weird I mean we’re in this very 21st century environment where all communication bar none takes place via email but yet we still have the sort of late 20th century open records law and this is a very I mean it’s a glaring gap if you know the Education Department is dumping as it seems to be the case dumping emails at the end of the day or the only keeping five days worth of emails and then they dump them I mean that creates a vast gap in the functioning of government and it allows you know lots of stuff to fall through the cracks all right let’s talk let’s shift gears a little bit I mean here we are as you know we’ve got labor day we’re in labor day weekend we’ve got a short period of time the governor’s race you know it’s good it’s going on you know I almost want to say fast and furious on one level but then sort of creeps along lots of negative commercials but it doesn’t seem to have any real movement not a lot of now the campaign’s would disagree substance am I wrong about that Robert you’ve covered a lot in the summaries it seems to be it was robbed because you did start seeing these negative ads in the summertime which is relatively early yeah for this to happen and then you had the governor’s um some people call it a you know penchant or he did of mainly Republican right districts trying to whip up support for his plan but it seemed to a lot of people accuse data being you know more precise more political it doesn’t seem to have no shaking the landscape you do have the sense you know of the everyone’s watching for is this going to be the first governor and since they’ve been allowed to seek reelection to lose John what’s your take on it yeah I didn’t paint it it’s it’s strange on one level it seems to be very aggressive you if you look at the air war and the rhetoric flying back and forth between the two campaigns but I mean that’s a subset of a subset of a subset right like that narrow group of people who pay attention this thing full time like us nerds here on this TV show seems active to us but he get out there in the big one world yeah voters aren’t really plugged into this I mean your own numbers out this week show that there’s still a quarter of voters who are disengaged from this and again not a heck of a lot of movement we have those two kind of strange polls over the summer where it looked like the race tightened and yet here we are we look up and still a double-digit lead for for Tom wolf so not a lot of not a lot of change over the course of the summer all right we’ll take a quick break we’ll come back we’ll continue our assessment of the governor’s race then we’re going to our popular financial literacy update will be back this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by Pennsylvania credit union Association Pennsylvania credit unions where people are worth more than money to find a credit union that is right for you check out I belong o RG and by the Energy Association of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania’s energy information source this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the hospital and health system Association of Pennsylvania working toward a healthy Pennsylvania and by the Pennsylvania coal alliance representing companies involved in America’s most affordable reliable energy source to learn more visit PA coal alliance com the governor’s race in perspective as we head to the final weeks of the campaign let’s let me first start with Robert taxes taxes taxes Tom Wolfe has proposed guess what a progressive income tax we’ve heard that before state income tax back in the days of Milton Schaap what’s the tack what elements are important in this tax debate in the governor’s race well most attention ability is keisha funny but the tax issue as you mentioned has surfaced with the town wolf saying he’d like to try to provide some exemption of to keep people loan lower-income people from having to pay the taxes shift it to more of the higher income earners to shift the burden of that income tax right now is a flat rate and that’s become a huge part of this campaign right that’s right that certain that has I say in the last month become a major issue Jaime you know John mice occation yeah I mean it’s the same debate that we always had did cop tom Corbett cut a billion dollars out of public education or not the administration says no that was federal stimulus money that went away in fact they added money to the basic education education subsidy give the Wolfcamp on the other side saying no the

administration strip money out of public education leading to program cuts and staff cuts and in fact public school staffing is at the lowest level in a decade it’s an odd it’s not the biggest issue in a game time I think you will agree all right we’ll be back with popular financial literacy update this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by Highmark Blue Shield changing the way health plans work for business with a variety of plan options for employers and more choices for employees information is available at highmark com have a greater hand in your company’s out and by the Pennsylvania health care association the future of long-term care this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Business Council and by the Pennsylvania Business Council Education Foundation well welcome back for our popular financial literacy update with Maria laval she’s the CEO westmoreland community federal credit union and peck conway he’s the president and CEO of the big organization do I got that right 7th the Pennsylvania credit union Association you got all these members let actually when we talk about members it’s a good way to start isn’t it because you have a big celebration going on how many years now absolutely 80 years the association is celebrating its dollar than me 80th anniversary yeah absolutely so what are the plans for the celebration what are you all doing and well you know we’re actually trying to utilize the association’s birthday and help us raise political action committee funds yeah eighty dollars for 80 years say all of our members so hopefully that will give us a robust PAC to support elected officials you work the credit union movement yeah there you go now you reached how many members when I saw that when you put going to say now have that many we reached a hundred million members of share nationwide oh my god so we are very very excited in the state of Pennsylvania we serve 3.8 million and 475 credits is it again 3.8 million okay there are 12 million of us last time you know put a little on the upside of that 12 million and so what what is it if you had to describe your overall philosophy what would that be I think it’s it’s really people helping people credit unions are about financial literacy helping their members with with better rates lower fees you know their financial institutions but they’re really partners with their their members are not customers their their cooperatives the members own the credit union and the earnings of the credit union are given back to the members with those better rates and lower fees yeah any i agree i would say that you know creddie younes we are we provide financial services but we also provide the services that gets the loose to improve the lives of our members so that is our goal you know one of the things that you know we’ve tried to do on this program over the several years that that you all been coming on is to provide this financial literacy update and I think what it is basically done is to give lots of really good useful make useful information that one of the ones that I really like that is the one that deals with college students because of what I do as a professor you know making sure that they understand you know when they come and I get all these credit cards offered and they can get out on their own and so you continue to build on your financial literacy programs in the schools correct absolutely I statewide we have 50 student-run branches in the high schools we do a huge amount of reality fairs across the state in Westmoreland County which is where i’m from we do at the community college we have all the local high school students come in and we get a career and they go around and make financial decisions and at the end they see the financial counselor and we tell them is it going to work is not going to work do you need a part-time job so it’s a great experience and they walk away with reality reality well Joe that that’s I think extremely important in addition to that we’ve also done multiple segments on people knowing interest rates and credit cards and how incredibly complicated that can be take it steadily and well I think as Maria said financial literacy is a big part of what credit unions are all about we have a foundation that’s investing over 800 thousand dollars in grants to give school districts the opportunity to have financial literacy programming in the schools weren’t about half of the state school districts now so when people are coming out they’re learning about that they’re learning about interest rates and how to utilize debit and credit cards and you really expanding that program as you come on I remember when you started it what is it four or five years old now is it older than that I forget but does it’s not so so important but what’s important is how you’ve

expanded that program correct yes absolutely we’re touching a lot of students a lot of kids are getting the education that they need to really plan for their future economically yeah how would you given what you do is different from other financial institutions well again I think it comes back to the fact that our customers are members there cooperatives they own the institution and so the earnings are really you know given back to the members and that’s the that’s the advantage I think of credit unions we like to say the credit unions are the best kept secret we’ve got to probably do a better job telling our story because credit unions can do a lot to help their members well you know I always you know we’ve talked on this program over many years I mean and I’ve always said I’ve been personally a member of a credit union also have a bank I mean I think more and more people are looking at a whole variety of ways to you know deal with investments to deal with personal savings to deal with how they pay bills and it’s getting more complicated I mean the thing that strikes me is how complicated is now with online all the online services and the protections that you need more and more I mean you you deal on the ground with risks you know with people real people oh we’re all real people real but you get it I mean what’s kind of changes have you seen just dealing with people in terms of those direct contacts with your with your folks the biggest as you were talking about is protecting your identity educating we do workshops for our members to educate how do you protect yourself online because a lot of the transactions are done online and yes patla saying the biggest difference for us too is that for us we treat the members as family so we try to say that we’re there for all stages of your life so when they come in where they’re they’re helping take care of their elderly parents or their daughters going off to college we try to help them make those financial decision so and and it’s increasingly complicated I mean I I must tell you I wish I understood a lot more than I do now about Holies how all this operates and I deal with computers and you know deal with lots of various web applications but let’s go before I let you go where does all this go what’s the what’s the future well you know I think we want to do more literacy more financial education for not just students but for the consumer public you know we want to work with you know with other financial institutions to continue to give people the education the tools that they need to plan for their future you know and I think really that’s a big part of who we are and one of the points you make is it doesn’t matter how big you get that doesn’t change your philosophy right helping people yeah that’s it so that philosophy stays the same well look i want to thank you over the course of several years you’ve come on we’ll go back the next time you come on and do a regular financial literacy updates will continue to take a look at those things that really matter to voters alright well we’ll see you next week for another edition of pennsylvania newsmakers and as always stay well