HARRISBURG, March 23, 2010 — State Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) today said he will push for swift action on new state legislation that would fund over 40,000 transitional jobs over a two year period.

Fontana said the Senate Democratic jobs proposal would employ jobless workers at $10 per hour for 30 hours per week, for nine months. Another component of the plan would provide $9 per hour summer youth jobs.

“During these difficult economic times, this jobs program would help thousands of workers keep a paycheck coming in while our economy recovers,” Fontana said following a Capitol news conference on the legislation. “I would hope that in many instances these workers can use this program as a stepping stone toward an even better career and future.

“While Allegheny County’s current 7.6 percent unemployment rate isn’t as bad as other parts of the state, there are still many local families that could use this program as a lifeline until better job opportunities come along.”

Fontana said the Democratic jobs plan would be funded by tapping millions in federal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funds and instituting a tax on the wholesale price of smokeless tobacco products, which would generate $80 million per year.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not tax chewing tobacco.

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