Update: Stimulus Package Unemployment Benefits – what states are already eligible without changes to UE law…plus GA update

Update on states as they review the Unemployment Strings and decide how much of the stimulus unemployment benefits to accept:

eGov monitor:

The unemployment insurance program gets its funds from federal and state employer payroll taxes, with states levying the biggest share. States administer the program, determining who is eligible and how much benefits will be.

19 states will soon receive a share of the $7 billion stimulus program designed to induce states to give more low-income workers unemployment benefits. Other suggested reforms in the act would provide benefits to part-time workers, those who leave jobs to take care of their families, and long-term workers who need retraining. The act also calls for higher benefits for workers with dependents.

To get at least one-third of their share of the $7 billion stimulus fund, states must count recent earnings in considering applicants. To get the rest, they have to adopt at least two of the other proposed reforms.

What states already qualify for the funds?

Maine, New Jersey and New York already qualify for 100 percent of the incentive money. Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont qualify for two-thirds, and eight other states qualify for one-third of the money.

States that don’t have qualifying laws have three years to enact them and still get all or part of their share of the stimulus. Existing and new laws are subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Labor before funds will be disbursed.

Since the early 1990s when a bipartisan panel appointed by then-President Bill Clinton asked states to update their aging unemployment laws, many states pioneered reforms.

But Republican governors’ objections to the most recent enticements are no surprise. Changes to unemployment laws have always been contentious, pitting business interests against organized labor and advocates for the poor. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office projected only 38 percent of the modernization money would be spent because many states would be reluctant to make the changes.

GA UPDATE from Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Gov. Sonny Perdue and state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will huddle today to determine if Georgia can accept more than $200 million in federal stimulus money to help the state’s growing ranks of the unemployed without hurting business owners down the road.

Thurmond said he will tell Perdue there will be an impact on businesses if the state accepts the money, but that it “would be negligible in my opinion.”

Gov Perdue’s position:

Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said there is a lot of confusion over some of the rules and regulations attached to the money. He said some of them are still being written, and the governor will review them all before making a decision on the funding.

Perdue’s decision “will all be driven by what the numbers are,” Brantley said. “If you offer me 50 cents and say it will eventually cost me a dollar to get it, we won’t be favorable to it.”

Strings:

Thurmond said the money would come to the state through “multiple funding streams,” and each of those streams has various rules attached to it. About $150 million of the money would require amending laws to permit part-time workers who have lost their jobs to get unemployment benefits while they look for another part-time job. Currently, he said, they only get benefits if they are looking for a full-time job.

The law would also have to be changed to expand unemployment benefits while job-seekers are in school or training programs. Right now, those benefits terminate after 26 weeks. The change would permit another 26 weeks for those training in what Thurmond called a “demand profession,” such as nursing or other kinds of health care.

David Raynor, state director for the small-business advocacy group NFIB, said his members fear there are no “sunset provisions” for the increased benefits in the stimulus. When the money runs out, Raynor said, that could mean his members have to pick up the tab for increased unemployment benefits.

“That could be a big burden on small business,” he said. “It could mean further lost jobs.”

February 27, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Doo Wop, Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics.

6 Comments

  1. james volpe replied:

    Were those the State of Florida stand, as for any portion of this package

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    • ginaswo replied:

      Hi! Gov Crist is very supportive of the stimulus, and FL began receiving increased UE bennies today..not sure how the state legislature is reacting, I know they donlt want to raise property taxes…

      good info today here:
      http://www.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com/page/content.detail/id/504455.html?nav=5069

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    • ginaswo replied:

      Gov. Charlie Crist today announced the processing of additional payments to Floridians currently receiving unemployment benefits. The payments, which are in the form of checks or Electronic Fund Transfers, are the result of an agreement Crist signed on Feb. 20, with the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The agreement authorized the state to issue additional federal stimulus payments of $25 per week to people receiving unemployment compensation. The federally funded benefits are expected to provide $345 million to Floridians through July 3, 2010.

      “These are difficult economic times for Floridians who rely on unemployment benefits to pay their bills and feed their families,” said Crist in a prepared statement. “These additional funds will help job seeking Floridians bridge the gap between jobs and provide much needed financial help for their essential needs.”

      The Agency for Workforce Innovation has begun mailing payments and electronically depositing funds for qualified unemployment compensation recipients. Subsequent payments will be issued bi-weekly in payments separate from regular unemployment compensation benefits. People qualified to receive unemployment compensation for weeks beginning Feb. 22, 2009, or later will also receive a retroactive payment for those prior weeks. The federally funded increase will continue through July 3, 2010, for claims filed no later than December 26, 2009.

      “Governor Crist’s efforts to fast-track this federal stimulus funding is critically important to nearly half a million Floridians in need,” said Agency for Workforce Innovation Interim Director Cynthia Lorenzo. “The additional $345 million will provide a financial boost to people receiving unemployment compensation payments and also benefit our overall economy as those dollars are spent in our communities.”

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    • ginaswo replied:

      uh oh here comes the legislature, FL an hour ago:

      http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090324/BREAKING/903249936/-1/NEWSSITEMAP

      Florida may forfeit more than $1.1 billion in federal stimulus aid unless the GOP-controlled Legislature agrees to increase the number of out-of-work people eligible for help.

      House and Senate Republicans are split over whether the Legislature should change requirements for jobless benefits in order to get Florida’s share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package. It is part of a growing rift between the two state chambers over spending and taxes that could turn this year’s session into a bitter stalemate.

      The Senate supports the move. Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, pointed out that 800,000 Floridians are out of work and the number is growing.

      “Given the unemployment we’re facing and the pain Floridians are going through, I think we should move forward to get these additional stimulus funds for Florida,” Alexander said.

      That view is not shared by top House Republicans, who are echoing some of the same concerns that have come from other Southern Republican leaders. Texas, Louisiana and South Carolona are among states that have rejected or threatened to turn down part of the stimulus aid, saying there were too many strings attached to the money, including a requirement to offer help to part-time workers.

      Florida House leaders say they are concerned that the additional requirements will place too steep a burden on taxpayers after the federal money runs out. One of the changes, for example, would require the state to cover workers who leave their jobs due to domestic violence or other “compelling family reasons” such as illness or to relocate with a spouse.

      “We’re not going to do something that may have a short-term positive impact but has significant long-term negative consequences,’’ said House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton.

      House Republicans are already preparing to defend their position. On Monday, an e-mail was sent to GOP House members instructing them how to respond to constituents who are upset that the state would turn down more than $1.1 billion in federal aid.

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  2. » Update: Stimulus Package Unemployment Benefits - what states are already eligible without changes to UE law…plus GA update replied:

    […] niravk wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt Update on states as they review the Unemployment Strings and decide how much of the stimulus un […]

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  3. » Update: Stimulus Package Unemployment Benefits - what states are already eligible without changes to UE law…GA update replied:

    […] niravk wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt Update on states as they review the Unemployment Strings and decide how much of the stimulus un […]

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