Tartaglione: Unemployment Bill ‘a Disservice to the Economy’
HARRISBURG, June 5, 2012 – While applauding the bipartisanship that marked negotiations, Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today voted against the final version of Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation reform, calling it a “disservice” to the economy and working families.
“I appreciate the work and cooperation of all who worked on this legislation, but I cannot, in good faith, support it in its current form,” Tartaglione told her colleagues shortly before the Senate voted 29 to 19 on Senate Bill 1310, the product of more than a year of discussions.
The bill attempts to address the $3.9 billion Pennsylvania owes the federal government for loans made during the depths of the recession.
Along with changes implemented in Act 6 of 2011, the measure ensures an estimated $500 million in cuts to benefits and eligibility while Pennsylvania’s taxable wage base, on which businesses pay unemployment taxes, remains among the nation’s lowest.
“In an economy that may just be beginning to recover from a devastating recession, I have genuine concerns about reducing eligibility,” Tartaglione said.
Noting that 186,000 Pennsylvanians have been out of work for more than six months, Tartaglione said unemployment benefits not only keep families afloat, but also provide the economy with base support as job growth continues to lag.
“The growth in the economy does not come from business alone,” she said. “Business wouldn’t succeed in Pennsylvania without Pennsylvania families supporting them through purchase and use of their services. Without money – either from jobs or UC when jobs have been lost through no fault of the employee, I feel we do the commonwealth and its economy a disservice.”
Senate Bill 1310 now heads back to the House for consideration.
LISTEN to the Senator’s remarks made on the Senate floor:[audio:http://www.senatortartaglione.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/sentartaglione-comments-on-sb1310-unemployment-compensation-reform.mp3|titles=sentartaglione-comments-on-sb1310-unemployment-compensation-reform]