LETTER: Sen. Scott Wagner responds to Dispatch article

York Dispatch

I am responding to the York Dispatch article published this past Friday titled — “Wagner touts role in blocking funds for jobless centers.”

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, speaks ahead of vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's campaign stop in Manchester Township at Penn Waste Inc. on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

Unfortunately, the article did not present all of the circumstances surrounding this issue. The Republican Senate Caucus was presented with the potential of voting on House Bill 2375 last Wednesday when the Senate was in session.

There is historical information on this subject that was not included in the article — in 2013 the legislature authorized approximately $60 million per year for four years starting in 2013 to upgrade the delivery system for the Unemployment Compensation Fund.

The Department of Labor and Industry has received almost $240 million over four years and has failed to deliver a completed infrastructure (computer - software) project on time — now they want more money.

I refuse to approve more money when not one single person in the Department of Labor and Industry has been held accountable. Being held accountable in the private sector means being fired from your job for wasted funds and a major project not being delivered on time.

I have been in Harrisburg since April of 2014 and I have witnessed firsthand the financial games being played by Wolf and his administration. Trust me when I tell you this, Wolf and his budget secretary know where to find the money to continue to fund the call centers.

But instead, the governor has chosen to play games and threaten to close call centers — more interesting is that  Wolf has selected call centers to close in Republican Senate Districts and not Democratic Senate Districts.

Wolf did not have a problem finding money this past August to give almost 30,000 state employees wage increases of almost 12 percent over a 27- month period. Based on my calculation, these wage increases total over $150 million and were not part of the 2016-17 budget. I serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee and we were not informed of these increased wage costs.

I was elected by voters in the 28th Senate District to do my job  — the pension crisis has not been solved, school property taxes continue to increase, roads and bridges are crumbling, and we have the highest state gas tax in the nation. It is time we hold Harrisburg accountable and that starts in the governor’s office.

— Sen. Scott R. Wagner (R-York), serves the 28th Senate District.