State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Auditor General aims to bring facts to unemployment comp. feud

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 20, 2017 5:51 PM

Political bickering over the UC funding and resulting layoffs appears poised to continue unabated. DePasquale says he hopes to provide a path forward. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- In one of the first endeavors of his second term, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is launching an investigation into the state's unemployment compensation program.

For months, the funding for the program has been at the center of a bitter standoff between Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and the GOP-led Senate.

The trouble started at the end of the last legislative session.

The Senate was scheduled to vote on a bill that would've extended a dedicated funding stream that was earmarked for improvements to the UC program.

But the chamber didn't hold a vote, citing concerns the funds were being mismanaged.

In the fallout, more than 500 UC employees were laid off and a month later, the Senate and the Wolf administration are still pointing fingers.

DePasquale said he feels the situation needs an arbiter.

"It may be that one side is right and the other side is wrong, or there is a middle road, but we do want to provide our own independent analysis to this so we can at least help break the stalemate, and even more importantly, provide a meaningful path forward," he said.

His staff has already begun combing through the UC program's financial records to see if the Senate's allegations of mismanagement hold water.

DePasquale said he expects the investigation will wrap up in April, in the midst of debate over the new state budget.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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