State Senate Moves Bill To Fix Unemployment Compensation Mess

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – The state Senate has passed and sent to the House legislation that would pump money into Pennsylvania’s troubled unemployment compensation claims processing system.

In mid-December a dispute between Senate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over state funding for the system led to hundreds of layoffs and the closure of several unemployment call centers.

The Senate Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to authorize $15 million to at least temporarily alleviate long delays for people calling to apply for benefits.

But one “no” vote came from Republican Sen. Scott Wagner, who has already jumped into the race for governor, and who played a role in thwarting the funding bill last fall.

Wagner cited what he claims is an ongoing lack of accountability over the issue.

“The system that is broken – that was broken in November, that has been broken for probably the last five or 10 years – is going to be continue to be broken,” said Wagner.

“I think those are certainly issues that need to be addressed. And that’s specifically why the auditor general has taken this issue up.” said Jay Costa, the Senate minority leader.

The bill now goes to the House, which is expected to take up the issue soon.

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