|Address||400 Bayard St. |
Elizabeth, Pennsylvania , United States
|| August 01, 1943
|Last Modifed||Mr. Matt|
Jan 18, 2012 02:38pm
Caucasian - Moderate - Moderate-to-Liberal - Pro-Choice -
|Info||Barbara Hafer took office as Pennsylvania's 74th Treasurer in January 1997, following eight years of public service as the state's Auditor General. She was reelected Treasurer in November 2000. The first Republican woman in history to serve as both Treasurer and Auditor General, she has earned a reputation as a critic of government waste and advocate of fiscal openness and accountability. |
Hafer has focused on improving Treasury Department operations to better serve Commonwealth citizens. Her accomplishments include funding tax cuts through more than $1 billion in investment earnings, increasing access to department information on the Internet, greatly increasing the number of electronic payments, speeding the issuance of tax refunds and using Treasury investments to fund economic development.
Under Hafer, the Treasury Unclaimed Property Program has been returning an unprecedented $2 million a month to Commonwealth citizens while simplifying the reporting process for businesses. Treasury?s INVEST short-term investment pool for local governments has more than quadrupled in membership and become a record $1.1 billion program. Hafer has made TAP, the Tuition Account Plan (Pennsylvania's 529 college savings plan) better known and more versatile by adding nine investment options to the already popular Guaranteed Savings Plan. The result: more than 70,000 participants and a fund value of more than $300 million. Hafer also created the HomeBuyer program, using a $500 million Treasury investment that helped more than 5,500 families buy their own homes.
A Registered Nurse, Hafer began her professional life as a public health nurse and health care administrator. After seeing tax dollars wasted rather than channeled to the public health programs that desperately needed them, she began speaking out on public policy issues. A concern for victims' rights led her to found the Allegheny County Center for Victims of Violent Crime in 1973. She also served as executive director of the center, the state's first federally funded agency for crime victims. Through her work in public health and with crime victims, Hafer saw that the real power to implement change lies with those who control the public purse strings. That insight led to a political career and an abiding interest in public finance.
In 1984 Hafer became the first woman elected to the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners. Elected as state Auditor General in 1988 and reelected in 1992, she crusaded against waste and for greater fiscal accountability. In 1990, she warned of a looming $1 billion state budget deficit. Ridiculed at the time, her forecast proved precisely right. The failure to heed her warning led to a record tax increase.
As Treasurer, Hafer oversees 61,000 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania payments each day and has custody of nearly $100 billion in public funds, including the assets of three pension funds. Her predecessor, in a deal the Securities and Exchange Commission had criticized as ?pay to play,? had sent most of Pennsylvania?s pension assets out of state. Hafer brought custody of those assets back to Pennsylvania, creating a multi-million-dollar savings and 40 new jobs.
The Treasurer is a statutory member of 16 state boards and commissions, including the three state pension funds. In January 2000 the Pennsylvania Public School Employees? Retirement System (PSERS) unanimously elected Hafer chairman of the Board of Trustees. She is the first Treasurer to chair the Board since its inception in 1917. PSERS is the 12th largest public pension fund in the nation, with more than $40 billion in assets and a membership of more than 240,000 active members and more than 140,000 retirees.
In addition, Hafer serves on 10 other boards and commissions, ranging from the Pennsylvania Partnership for Economic Education to the President's Cabinet for Counsel and Advancement of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She also remains active in public health issues.
Hafer also earned nationwide recognition through her service on a special five-member National Executive Committee of state and local finance officers formed to monitor the progress of Swiss banks in returning World War II-era deposits to Holocaust victims and their heirs. The committee was widely credited with helping to bring about the banks? $1.25 billion settlement with Holocaust victims. In 1999, State of Israel Bonds presented Hafer with a specially created Pursuit of Justice Award, recognizing her for her ?compassion and dedication? in leading settlement efforts. The committee continues to monitor Holocaust settlement issues involving various European nations, while Hafer?s staff works to inform potential claimants of their rights. Last year, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez presented Treasurer Hafer a specially created sculpture recognizing her support of Israel.
Treasurer Hafer's dedication, commitment and service to the Commonwealth earned her recognition as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in October 2001. And, in 2003, the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania presented Hafer with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
Treasurer Hafer especially values an award presented to her in May 2000 by her employees' union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees: She was chosen as the first-ever recipient of the AFSCME Council 90 Outstanding Employer Award.
A graduate of Dormont High School (1961) and the South Side Hospital School of Nursing (1964), Hafer earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Duquesne University in 1969 and later did post-graduate work at the University of London and the University of Pittsburgh.
Barbara Hafer is married to Jack Pidgeon, retired Headmaster of Kiski School in Saltsburg, Westmoreland County. They have four children and four grandchildren.