Stimulus Unemployment Extension Update: FL & VA….
Florida Gov. Crist is expected to sign a bill that would extend unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks for Florida’s eligible unemployed residents. The additional benefits would be paid to eligible Floridians laid off up until Dec. 27 this year, with benefits being paid through the week ending Jan. 2., 2010. For those who have exhausted benefits, the bill would give retroactive extended benefits, as long as their benefit year did not end before Feb. 22.
The extended benefits, costing an estimated $418 million, down from an estimated $777 million, would be paid for by the federal government via the economic stimulus package….
…”It helps extends the benefits and it uses federal dollars. It’s a win-win for Florida and those on unemployment,” Sterling Ivey, the governor’s press secretary, said Wednesday.
VA: Arlington Connection:
…For now, Virginia has said thanks but no thanks to $125 million stimulus funds made available to the commonwealth’s Unemployment Trust Fund. But legislators are bracing themselves for the possibility that Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine might call a special session to overturn the Republican rejection of the stimulus money. Meanwhile, as the governor tries to line up GOP support behind expanding unemployment benefits to part-time employees, Republican leaders convened a press conference to spotlight businesses that oppose expanding benefits….
…THE FIGHT OVER expanding unemployment benefits has taken a sharply partisan tone since the General Assembly’s veto session on April 8. Since the General Assembly had convened in February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made $125 million available to the Unemployment Trust Fund. But only if the rules were changed in Virginia that restricted unemployment benefits to full-time workers and people enrolled in a state-approved training program. Last week, Howell assembled a handful of business owners to stand behind the Republican argument for limited government….
…Democrats argue that the General Assembly could reverse the benefit extension after the federal money dries up. Until then, they argue, failing to accept the money would be irresponsible because it could provide assistance to the increasing number of people who are finding themselves out of work. But Republicans counter that saying no to the stimulus money was the right thing to do. The dispute is unfolding with a backdrop of a looming election for all members of the House of Delegates.
“Our bottom line is that we don’t put our finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing,” said Howell at the April 23 press conference. “We try to do what’s right for Virginia, what’s right for the workers in Virginia, what’s right for the economy in Virginia. At the end of the day, voters will recognize that.”