Treasurer Might Not Sign Off On Lottery Payments to Private Manager

The State Attorney General is still reviewing a deal to give management of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private firm.  The state Treasurer is also doing his own review.

Treasurer Rob McCord says he’s still weighing whether his department will cut checks to the new lottery management firm even if Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office clears the contract.  McCord says his department plays a fiscal review role.

McCord is concerned about the expansion of lottery games without legislative approval  in a contract with Camelot Global Services. He says he’s looking at it with increasing concern in deciding whether his office would distribute funds to Camelot.

Governor Corbett, appearing Friday on Radio PA’s “Ask the Governor” said  there would be no reason for the Treasurer to withhold payments to the private manager.  He adds he would have a long conversation with the treasurer about holding up due contracts if they’re approved by the attorney general.

The Governor, a Republican,  indicated he was not concerned by the new Democratic Attorney General’s review of the agreement.

State Capitol Packed as Row Officers Take Oaths

It seemed like around every corner at the state capitol complex, Tuesday, was a Democrat taking the oath of office.  Hundreds filled the rotunda and spilled into the hallways to catch a glimpse of Kathleen Kane being sworn-in as the first Democrat and the first woman elected Attorney General in PA. 

“I’m proud, I’m excited and I’m just thrilled that everyone came out to support us the way that they did,” Kane told reporters afterward.  “It wasn’t just the election, they’re here today too.”  Kane has vowed to launch an investigation of the way the Jerry Sandusky case was handled at the AG’s office, and says she’s close to naming a Special Deputy Attorney General whose sole job will be that probe.

Across the street at the Pennsylvania State Museum, Eugene DePasquale became the state’s independent fiscal watchdog when he took the oath of office as Auditor General.  He’ll start by reviewing internal operations to ensure everything is running efficiently.  “I think it is entirely wrong to go out and start banging away at other agencies, and saying they need to become more efficient, if we’re not going to look at ourselves as well,” DePasquale said in his inaugural address. 

While DePasquale is the first York County resident to hold statewide office since Governor George Leader in the 1950s, he’s downplaying any historical significance.  “That’s kind of some fun talk, but – at the end of the day – if you do your job people will remember you well, if you don’t do your job they won’t.” 

Both DePasquale and Kane are serving in new positions, but Treasurer Rob McCord took the oath of office for a second time on Tuesday.  Looking ahead to his second term, McCord says he will continue to find innovative ways to save and make money for the people of Pennsylvania.  Under his watch, McCord says, the Treasury has produced $1.6-billion dollars in investment returns and averted $300-million dollars in erroneous state payments.

Democrats Sweep State Row Offices

For the first time, Pennsylvania Democrats have swept the three state row offices on election night. Kathleen Kane has been elected Attorney General; Eugene DePasquale will be the next Auditor General; and Treasurer Rob McCord was re-elected to a second term.

Kane’s victory is particularly historic. She becomes not only the first Democrat to be elected Attorney General since it became an elected office in 1980, but also the first woman selected for the post by voters. Two women have served as Attorney General, but both were appointed, including Linda Kelly who is currently serving out the remaining term of Tom Corbett.

DePasquale defeated fellow State Representative John Maher to become Auditor General and McCord bested Republican challenger Diane Irey Vaughan in the Treasurer’s race.

New Voter ID Requirements?

One-on-One with Diana Irey Vaughan, Republican for Treasurer

Diana Irey Vaughan

The top of the ticket may be getting all the attention in the buildup to the November 6th election, but Pennsylvania voters will be electing a US Senator, Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer too.

The Treasurer candidates include Democratic incumbent Rob McCord, Republican Diana Irey Vaughan and Libertarian Patricia Fryaman.  Radio PA’s Matt Paul recently caught up with Diana Irey Vaughan.  You can hear their conversation below.RT-IREYVAUGHAN

New Voter ID Requirements?

One-on-One with Rob McCord, Democrat for Treasurer

Rob McCord

All three statewide row offices will be on the ballot next week, including Pennsylvania State Treasurer.  The three names to appear on your ballot are: Democratic incumbent Rob McCord, Republican Diana Irey Vaughan and Libertarian Patricia Fryman. 

Radio PA’s Matt Paul caught up with Rob McCord this week.  You can listen to their entire conversation by clicking below. RT-MCCORD

Solid Year for Pennsylvania’s 529 College Savings Program Despite Uncertain Economy

Pennsylvania’s 529 College Savings Program had a good year despite the uncertain economy. The Guaranteed Savings Plan had an investment performance of more than 18%, its best year ever. Treasurer Rob McCord says   the program’s investment performance helped boost its actuarial funded status to nearly 98% as of June 30th. It was just 89% last year.

Michael Smith, spokesman for the state Treasurer’s office, says people have until the end of the month to buy credits in the Guaranteed Savings Plan at the current rate. Due to more than average tuition increases at publicly funded colleges and universities, credit rates for that plan will go up on September 1st.

Smith credits sound investment strategies for the performance of the 529 plans.

The Treasury is offering free enrollment for all new 529 GSP accounts opened in August and September.  Smith says that’s a $50 savings.  He says people just need to go on line to and use the term “save 50” when prompted.

In addition to the Guaranteed Savings Plan, the program also has an Investment Plan. The Treasury says families saving in both plans receive tax advantages. The program’s assets totaled $2.347 billion as of June 30th, an increase of 23.6% from the previous year. The total number of accounts increased 5.8% and contributions grew 6% during the year.

Smith says it’s never too early to open at 529 account and start saving for college.  He says for every dollar saved today, that’s one dollar less you have to pay down the road, with interest.

Smith adds it’s also not too late to open an account if you’re already in college or heading to college this fall. He says many students use such accounts to cover a variety of qualified educational expenses.  He says it’s best to log on to and look at both plans to see what works best for them.