May. 14, 2020 / Press Release

HARRISBURG – State Reps. Tommy Sankey (R-Hastings) and Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) both remember legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey very well.

“Paul Harvey was a commentator who enjoyed telling his listeners the back story - ‘The Rest of the Story’ - from World War II until just before his death in 2009,” said Sankey. “Right now, taxpayers and business owners want and deserve the full story about certain government decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic that severely impact Pennsylvanians across the state.”

Sankey is referring specifically to the late Friday afternoon release of the list of more than 6,000 businesses that successfully applied for exemptions after being classified as “non-essential” by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. Rigby says the waiver list distributed to the media by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) does very little to address the veil of secrecy that surrounds the waiver process.

“The list in the DCED press release includes successful waiver applicants but doesn’t name the businesses that were denied and the reason for the denial,” he added. “That leaves, for instance, the two Johnstown-area plate glass dealers that didn’t get a waiver wondering how the third dealer - one of their competitors - received one. When government acts like this, citizens lose trust and start using words like ‘favoritism’ and ‘special treatment’ to fill in the information gap.”

“Maybe the administration thought no one would notice the announcement if they handed it out late on a Friday afternoon,” Sankey commented. “I made time to read the ‘list of life-sustaining businesses.’ It didn’t take long before I stumbled on the names of construction companies and real estate firms that were allowed to return to work despite a designation of ‘non-essential.’

“If I’m a construction worker or realtor that is unemployed because of being labeled ‘non-life sustaining,’ and I read this list, I’m wondering how this process can be considered open and transparent,” Rigby said. “It is a logical question to ask of an administration which emphasizes openness and transparency.

“It’s not too much to demand fair and equal treatment. Pennsylvanians looking for stability and peace of mind can’t feel confident in their government when they hear facts like this,” concluded Rigby.

Representative Tommy Sankey
73rd Legislative District
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott B. Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5967 (cell) / /