STATEMENT: PBPC on Auditor General's Report on Audit of SIIF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2017

HARRISBURG – Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement on Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s performance audit of the Department of Labor & Industry’s (L&I) Unemployment Compensation Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF):

"The Auditor General's report on the State’s Unemployment Compensation System demonstrates not only the need for improved accounting and oversight, but for an immediate investment of $159.5 million over four years to insure that the current — though inadequate — levels of services are sustained and to provide an additional $153 million during the same period to reopen the UC call centers that were closed at the end of last year.

"Pennsylvania's Unemployment Compensation System currently adds insult to the injury of unemployment. The newly-unemployed are seeking assurance that they will receive the unemployment compensation due them, as well as help in securing a new job. Yet, since January 2017, over 99% of the calls to Unemployment Centers have been met by busy signals.

"All Pennsylvania workers pay into the unemployment compensation system. Those who lose their jobs deserve to have their questions answered quickly and their claims processed. The state legislature must pass a multi-year funding bill that provides the Governor's office the legislative authority to transfer funding from the UC trust fund in order to restore and protect the state's UC trust fund. Such a bill would provide the funds necessary to rehire furloughed workers, reopen the Unemployment Compensation Centers that were closed due to lack of funding, and restore operations and customer service for Pennsylvanians.  And the Department of Labor and Industry must work to re-hire laid-off workers and to invest new funds in a way that corrects the long-standing problems in the system."