Wednesday, October 31, 2012

These Corbett job numbers are downright scary.

Last week when defending the $10,000 raises his boss doled out to top staff, the governor’s spokesman told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that Gov. Corbett has a “broader plan” to bring equity to the state workforce’s 12,000 managers. He said “Governor Corbett plans to grow the economy so that additional revenues become available which allow for additional raises.”

His plan to “grow the economy,” rang a little hollow to me. Perhaps because I had just done some research that points to PA’s economy moving in the opposite direction of the nation’s at large.   

See, while other Americans look at economic indicators like the unemployment rate and foreclosures, and feel encouraged by the hopeful signs Pennsylvanians are left wondering why the numbers in our state don’t do much to boost confidence.

The U.S. Commerce Department shows economic trackers like housing starts, home prices and consumer confidence are growing, while foreclosures and unemployment are down. But Pennsylvanians aren’t feeling this recovery.

Plus according to RealtyTrac foreclosures in the U.S. plunged to a 5 year low in September. But in the Commonwealth -- up a 134% since September 2011, the 2nd highest of any state in the country.

Similarly, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% in September, a 3/10 percent drop, falling in 41 states; Pennsylvania’s increased to 8.2 percent last month, climbing steadily every month since May.

Adding to the pain and frustration WNEP in Scranton reported that many recently laid off Pennsylvanians hit a wall when calling the state’s toll-free unemployment hotline – getting a busy signal -- sometimes for weeks on end. In fact when Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway called, she got a busy signal too.

I’ve heard the frustration and anxiety from would-be and existing U.C. claimants, and those trying to assist them firsthand.

So when can we expect this promise to “grow the economy?” In his first 22 months it looks its Corbett’s failed policies that are responsible for our state’s nonexistent recovery.

Remember back-to-back state budgets which laid off nearly 20,000 education professionals, and the 40,000+ working Pennsylvanians kicked off their health insurance, and asset tests to qualify for nutritional assistance – clearly these do not contribute to a thriving recovery. Compounded by the governor’s inaction on transportation infrastructure, which by the way would improve public safety and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Not only has the administration (and others remember “jobs, jobs, jobs”) failed to generate the jobs it claimed were its top priority, it has also dismantled the safety net there to assist struggling families. This is simply unacceptable, Pennsylvanians deserve better.