Tuesday, July 26, 2016

State's public pensions to get scrutiny in audit

The Associated Press

Monday, July 25, 2016

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's fiscal watchdog will audit the management of $78 billion in assets by the state's two big public employee retirement systems amid a federal investigation into fees paid to outside firms that invest billions of taxpayer dollars. The announcement Monday by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale occurred four days after federal prosecutors announced charges against ex-state Treasurer Barbara Hafer and Richard Ireland, whose firm marketed the services of private investment managers and shared in the fees. Lawyers for Hafer and Ireland say their clients are innocent. DePasquale said the charges did not motivate the audit of the Public School Employees' Retirement System and the State Employees' Retirement System. Rather, the audit had been planned for some time, he said. However, he suggested that the fees paid to private investment managers will be closely scrutinized. “I'm really interested in the fees paid to outside managers when SERS and PSERS aren't coming even close to meeting their targets,” the Democratic auditor general said. At another point, DePasquale said, “we're paying them a lot of money. What are we getting in return?” PSERS reported $455 million in investment fees in its 2015 fiscal year, SERS reported paying $159 million and the state Treasury Department reported $12 million. All of SERS' nearly $26 billion in assets were invested by private firms, while the Treasury Department and PSERS manage some cash pools in-house. All three agencies report that they are paying less in fees than they did in previous years. Meanwhile, PSERS and SERS said their compounded annualized investment performance had beaten their long-term goals of 7.5 percent over the last 30 years, after accounting for the fees. All three agencies report that they are paying less in fees than they did in previous years. [MORE]

Pennsylvania Attorney General candidate John Rafferty says he would campaign with Trump

Charles Thompson, Harrisburg Patriot News

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pennsylvania Attorney General candidate John Rafferty answered one of the essential questions for down-ballot Republicans Monday: He said he would have no problem sharing a stage with Donald J. Trump. The question was posed because of mid-summer uncertainty about how well Trump will fare in the general election in the heart of swinging Pennsylvania: the Philly suburbs and adjacent Lehigh Valley. It's also an area where some political observers believe Rafferty, a state senator from Montgomery County, needs to at least hold his own in the November balloting against his Democratic foe, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. "I'm focusing on the office of Attorney General," Rafferty, a lawmaker who likes to talk about his skills as a consensus builder, told reporters after a Pennsylvania Press Club appearance in Harrisburg Monday. "But I will tell you something. Donald Trump has shown me, in the past couple weeks, positive signs," Rafferty said. "He picked Mike Pence as his vice president. Very good governor, legislative and executive experience, which will help when they go to Washington. "And Donald Trump, over the other candidate, scores high on safety and security issues in this Commonwealth, and across the nation. Whenever anything happens, he gets the bump in the polls, and safety and security are the primary focus of my candidacy," Rafferty continued. The GOP nominee also made clear he doesn't agree with all of Trump's statements or methods. But he noted that for every voter Trump alienates, he may bring one that wouldn't otherwise consider voting Republican. "There are a huge amount of Democrats that are talking about voting for Donald Trump, especially in certain sections of the state that have been alienated by those that are anti-coal and anti-energy," Rafferty said. "I think you're going to see a wide vote (margin) for Donald in those areas." Rafferty said he has nothing scheduled with Trump at the moment. But he said, if their paths cross down the road, or if there are some big, all-Republican rallies in the fall that command his presence, he would definitely appear. 

Pennsylvania casinos scoff at $1M all-night liquor license

The Associated Press

Monday, July 25, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania lawmakers recently passed legislation giving the state's 12 casinos the ability to sell liquor between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., but casinos say they aren't biting. That's partly because the cash-strapped state wants $1 million per license. Sands Casino CEO Mark Juliano told the Morning Call of Allentown that the Bethlehem casino won't pay the $1 million, and he doesn't know of any casino that will. Juliano says it's also not worth hiring the staff to serve the sparse late-night crowds and Sands doesn't want to be the go-to drinking hole after every other place closes. Eric Schippers of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course says it has no need to serve liquor around the clock and it probably wouldn't take a license if it were free.

 




2014 Pennsylvania Business Council | Privacy policy