By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (CBS) — Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are pressing the Wolf Administration to put a price tag on what’s needed to clean up the mess that continues to plague Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation claims processing system.

A funding dispute over unemployment claims processing prompted Governor Wolf to lay off hundreds of workers. Telephone wait times grew to as long as six hours at the beginning of the year.

In April, the system got a $15 million infusion. But Brenda Warburton, executive deputy secretary of the state Department of Labor and Industry, told a state House committee service is still not back to pre-furlough levels.

“The time it takes for a claimant to get a determination is currently six to eight weeks,” she said. “That’s about double what it was pre-furloughs. We know that there is an inordinate amount of busy signals.”

The ranking members of both parties on the House committee exhorted the Wolf administration to provide an estimate for the cost of a long-term solution. But Warburton said there first needs to be a consensus on what level of customer service is desired.

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