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Corbett's sleight of hand

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Saturday, May 3, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Gov. Tom Corbett wants to stand on his record of cutting unemployment in Pennsylvania, but he chooses to do this through a false positive.

Before Corbett took office, a person needed to earn at least $50 in a week to receive a “credit week,” meaning it could be used toward compiling unemployment benefits. Shortly after taking office, Corbett and the Legislature doubled the weekly minimum amount earned toward a credit week to $100. It has since increased to $116 per week.

This was done so fewer people would qualify for unemployment and, as a result, he could state that the Pennsylvania unemployment rate is decreasing.

The formula used to calculate the qualifications for unemployment has made matters even worse. The state looks at the last five quarters of a year and totals the four highest. Under the new law, if someone earns a lot of money in one quarter, it can make that person ineligible for unemployment. This hurts seasonal workers' ability to collect unemployment.

Corbett and his legislative supporters also are sticking it to employers. In 2012, the maximum an employer paid for employees toward unemployment was $8,000. That increased in 2013 to $8,500 and it will rise incrementally to $10,000 per employee in 2019.

Throughout Corbett's term, seemingly no one has been safe except for Marcellus shale gas drillers. He's attacked the working class of Pennsylvania, particularly the unions. His commercials state that he wasn't elected to make friends — but he wasn't elected to demean the working class.

One more thing: On his recent trip to the Vatican, Corbett received blessed rosaries from the pope. If my tax dollars paid for this trip, I would like to know where I can go to receive a set of these rosaries?

Marlene Haslett

Buffalo Township

The writer is an independent payroll consultant.

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