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PA state layoffs criticized

By Fritz Mayer
November 22, 2016

HARRISBURG, PA — Democratic lawmakers in Harrisburg are blaming Senate Republicans for not addressing legislation that would have provided funding for some of the state’s unemployment claim centers.

Because of the lack of a vote House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said that some 600 unemployment workers would be furloughed and there would be reduced services for thousands of unemployed Pennsylvanians.

Gov. Tom Wolf said he was disappointed with the decision of the Republican-lead body to leave Harrisburg for the year without taking action. Wolf issued a statement saying, “The failure to pass this bill now also means that the unemployment insurance system will be forced to lay off workers and close centers who process claims for the very people who are newly eligible to receive benefits because they are out of work and looking for a new job.”

In previous years, the department has been beefing up staffing because the largest increases in layoffs tend to come in December and January.

But Republican Senators were reportedly concerned about the cost of this practice, and the funding that allowed it runs out at the end of this year.

Republican Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon, introduced a new funding bill this fall and Republicans and Democrats in the House quickly advanced and passed it with a vote of 175-13, and sent it to the Senate on October 19.

“It’s a colossal dereliction of duty by Senate Republican leaders,” Dermody said.