HARRISBURG – More than2 million Pennsylvania residents, including many from the 124th District, find themselves out of work and far too many of them have gone nearly two months without a paycheck Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) said today the time is now for Gov. Tom Wolf to prioritize Pennsylvania’s unemployed and get funding to them immediately so they can put food on the table for their loved ones.
“The level of frustration and anger among residents who have reached out to us for assistance or answers has been overwhelming,” said Knowles. “I have tried to do all that I can to assist those seeking help with unemployment compensation. We have been both a punching bag and a shoulder to cry on. As your state representative, I accept this difficult challenge. My responsibility is to make sure the people who make up the 124th District are safe, healthy and happy.
“COVID-19 can best be described as a bully that is controlling our lives. I appreciate the efforts from Gov. Wolf and his administration to combat the virus. Trust me, it isn’t an easy job. However, the lack of transparency in the governor’s decision-making process has hurt us more than has helped us.”
Knowles said that it is essential that the governor understand his responsibility, as he is directly responsible for the operations of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Constituents are telling him that they have filed for unemployment but have not received a penny, and others are baffled because they cannot get through to the Department of Labor and Industry’s website. The links that people are instructed to use to file an unemployment compensation claim don’t perform properly.
In fact, funding for a new system was appropriated years ago, according to a recent news report, and the department knew that the system was seriously outdated. But it was never fixed.
Knowles also expressed his frustration because many of the people who have filed for unemployment compensation are those who want to work and could do so safely, but the governor shut them down, contributing to the issue.
“Businesses across the Commonwealth are struggling under the COVID-19 state of emergency, and the governor’s list of ‘life-sustaining’ business is the crux of the problem. We expect consistency and transparency for the businesses and workers of Pennsylvania,” he said.
“My House Republican colleagues and I voted to approve Senate Bill 613, which the governor vetoed. The legislation was about planning for the future, not just planning for the moment. In addition, this legislation was not about opening up businesses; it was about bringing fairness to the process.
“Our businesses and the millions of people they employ deserve the opportunity to innovate and adjust their businesses to the challenges we are all facing right now, rather than be forced to sit out and watch their livelihoods fall apart,” Knowles added. “Unemployment has risen to beyond record levels. People are losing their savings and net worth more with the passing of each day. We need to put a stop to it immediately. Gov. Wolf must make this his top priority.”
For more information about this or any other legislative topic, contact Knowles’ district office in Tamaqua at 570-668-1240, or in Hamburg at 610-562-3411. Information can also be found online at RepKnowles.com
Representative Jerry Knowles
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner