Sen. Scott Wagner Vows To Investigate Unemployment Compensation Layoffs

Dec 6, 2016

Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner is sparring with Gov. Tom Wolf over the layoffs of more than 500 state workers. Wolf blames the senator for the layoffs, blaming a funding bill that was never voted on, but Wagner contends that Wolf is at fault.
Credit David Amsler / Flickr

Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner is filing a Right-to-Know request over the layoffs of several hundred state employees.

The York County lawmaker is being blamed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and union leaders for being a major cause of the layoffs.

But Wagner contends that Wolf is at fault.

At the end of the 2016 legislative session last month, the GOP-led Senate decided not to vote on a funding bill for the state’s unemployment compensation program.

Without it, the governor and the Department of Labor and Industry said more than 500 workers have to be furloughed, and three of the state’s seven jobless call centers will close.

Wagner, who plans to run for governor, prominently took credit for blocking the funding, calling it an irresponsible use of resources.

He said the layoffs are a political move on Wolf’s part.

“Because I chose to speak out on behalf of the taxpayers of the commonwealth, and because of Governor Wolf’s sagging poll numbers, Governor Wolf and the public-sector unions that he panders to are spreading misinformation,” he said at a press conference he held in the Capitol.

Wagner said he found out that the three centers slated for closure stopped taking calls over two weeks ago, and that one would likely have closed in June regardless of the funding bill.

He said the situation merits more investigation, which is why he’s filing the Right-to-Know request.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Industries said there was no decision to close any centers prior to last month.

A spokeswoman confirmed that calls have stopped at the jobless centers that are closing because work is being shifted to other centers. She said employees continue to process claims online.