Cause and effect
Northeast Pennsylvania has had more trouble than most of the state in recovering from the Great Recession. Unemployment in the region has run nearly a percentage point higher than the state average.
The state average most recently was reported at 6.8 percent while the region's rate was 7.7 percent. The national rate is 6.6 percent.
Given that situation, one has to wonder what the Corbett administration is thinking by proposing budget reductions that could close the state's civil service testing center in Scranton, along with those Allentown, Lock Haven, Erie and Johnstown.
When the local office closes, anyone seeking a public job requiring a civil service test will have to go to Philadelphia, Harrisburg or Pittsburgh to take it. And, since the office conducts testing for prospective employees of state-related county agencies, applicants will have to undergo that travel to apply even for a local job.
The last thing people looking for a job need is the expense of traveling to take the test.
Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget includes $13.5 million for the testing centers, a reduction of $2.5 million that would result in staff reductions and the center closings.
But the office is funded from fees assessed per test. Reducing the number of offices inevitably will reduce the number of administered tests, thus revenue.
Legislators should ensure that their job-seeking constituents have easy access to testing centers. Since the operation is funded by fees within the system, it would not seriously affect the state's bottom line to keep the centers open, even if a modest supplemental appropriation is needed.