Stimulus Update: AZ GOP legislators show tough love..and TX rejects UE funds….

This may sound harsh, and it is, (but I am a Hobbesian not a Locke follower, so I expect it to be brutal, LOL) and I will feel the pain, but it is true, and if we do not want to wind up like CA, this is where we are going to have to go..we simply cannot afford to give unemployment to Part Time workers or to workers who quit when their spouse relocates..we cannot keep adding people to programs who do not pay into the system, it is simply unsustainable as demonstrated perfectly by CA right next door…

You cannot escape the pain of the Great Recession by adding new safety net programs, you simply delay the pain, we will lose more jobs if we add UE taxes on employers so we can give new benefits..Gov Perry is right. If Tucson wants to pay for these programs, they can Go to Cali, to Cali to Cali…sing it LL…

An Op-Ed from a Tucson Citizen in the paper of the same name, this citizen wants to expand the safety net as a matter of logic :

I guess that’s why I’ve had difficulty understanding the seeming indifference of Republicans in our state Legislature to the effect of the budget cuts they’re making. I don’t get their stubborn refusal to consider a temporary tax increase – or to even refer the matter to the voters – to preserve basic education, health care and social services.

See, I naively thought that everybody agreed – even those who rail against big government – that times like the ones we’re experiencing now are precisely when government must step in to help its most vulnerable citizens. I thought it was accepted that such times are when government plays its most vital role and does its best work.

No we do not all agree, yes we need the safety net in the post industrial world, but we need it to be sustainable ot the economic collapse we precipitate through our unsustainable actions leads to more loss, the negative cycle again…so, here is the Tough Love our states need to show to get us through the next two years..

…a commentary written by Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, for the March 6 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times.

He outlined the reality of the budget crisis – the state has a $3 billion deficit for fiscal 2010. …

…Harper ended his commentary with a message to those Arizonans who are “underemployed or overexpectant.”

“If you are relying on any services from the state that are not mandated by the federal government, I advise you that those services may end June 30, 2009.

“If you have children that require expensive experimental treatment or therapy that is not provided by the federal government, I advise that the state does not have the money for it after June 30.

“If you have been laid off from your job and are not willing to take a job that is available, unemployment benefits, food stamps and AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) for health care are going to fall short of what you could make by being employed.

“Arizona will not follow the country into socialism. If you feel you need greater assistance and are not able to move to another state, please turn to your local churches and give them the opportunity to show their generosity and love.”

The person who wrote the Op Ed thinks this is mean and harsh and hurtful, she apparently does not understand that economic contraction IS harsh and making bad decisions we cannot afford because we feel bad will make it hurt longer….

That’s right, my fellow Arizonans, get off your lazy, free-loading unemployed butts and start digging some ditches or get out of town.

Sen. Scrooge – oops, I mean Sen. Harper – also argued that the state should reject the federal stimulus money that would allow Arizona to increase the maximum unemployment payment from $240 to $265 per week and extend the benefits to more jobless people.

So is Senator Harper just a mean man as the author suggests? No, he is following a model in which we avoid raising business taxes when we will just be coming out of a recession, when the money runs out two years from now:

“This would cause a tax increase on business to keep the fund stable and makes the provision unworkable,” he wrote.

Yep.

TX – USA Today:

To get the money, states must expand unemployment benefits, such as covering part-time workers who lose their jobs. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he doesn’t want the stimulus money because his state would have to raise taxes on businesses or cut back on benefits once the federal funding runs out.

(more…)

March 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. 2 comments.

Stimulus Package Unemployment Benefits Update: Nevada to turn down some funding too..MS update…

Yep, the beat goes on as more and more states find that the strings attached to the federal stimulus money will leave them in a worse position down the road:

Channel 8 Eyewitness News Las Vegas Now:

Nevada stands to get hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus money, but Governor Jim Gibbons says he will pass on some of it.

Governor Gibbons says there are just too many strings attached to some of the federal stimulus dollars. The governor says he will take the money without unfunded mandates.

“Let me give you just one; it’s the unemployment insurance level. It’s just four weeks of assistance that they are giving us, but it requires mandatory, permanent, irrevocable changes to our tax system and to how we decide who qualifies for receiving unemployment,” he said.

Nevada would receive more than $76 million for the extra four weeks. The governor says it’s not worth it and the state would be stuck with a higher business tax because of federal regulations.

The governor says he will also reject the stimulus money for school maintenance. In the bill, he says the state would have to spend an additional $500 million to get $300 million in stimulus money.

Update from Mississippi, where the State Senate is backing Governor Barbour over the State House attempts to bypass him and get stimulus funds anyway…

The Commercial Dispatch:

The Republican-controlled state Senate will likely block the House’s attempt to accept all of the $2.8 billion Mississippi is projected to get for helping fund government services and assist people struggling through the economic recession.

(more…)

March 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Taxatrion, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. 3 comments.

Economic Stimulus Update: AZ stimulus showdown: Political Dueling for a Fistful of Dollars or a Few Dollars More

govbrewerOur GOP branches are arguing and trying to throw each other under the bus over the stimulus here in AZ.

The State Legislature accuses the Governor of having deliberately cut the most ‘sensitive’  areas of services  to arouse voter anger and pushback so that the GOP legislature will be unable to fight her secret wish to take lots of money from Team Obama.

The Governor says not I! I merely began making the cuts you legislators legislated….

and the “really good news” they reported as a headline in our local media is that now that our Unemployment rate has jumped to 7.01% we are eligible for even more federal handouts! Gee it’s great to have your economy collapse! Let’s all be unemployed! What is wrong with these people?!

East Valley Tribune:

Republican lawmakers are off base in criticizing agency chiefs for cutting services to the poor, Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday.

Brewer told Capitol Media Services it should have come as no surprise that the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Health Services and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System all announced that they would be eliminating certain programs. That followed mandates by the Republican-controlled Legislature to each of those agencies to cut spending by millions of dollars to help balance the state budget.

Senate Majority Whip Pam Gorman, R-Anthem, was particularly critical of the cuts by DES. That agency reduced by 1,100 the number of beds in homeless shelters it would fund and eliminated services for 5,000 people who are developmentally disabled.

DES also eliminated subsidized child care for 20,000 low-income families, a cut that Brewer restored Wednesday.

“When you are taking cuts that look to any observer to be the last place that you should be looking for cuts and actually it’s on your first pass, you have to think to yourself, why would they do that?” Gorman said. “So our only guess is that it’s politically motivated – not politically in the terms of Republican versus Democrat – but in terms of creating a grass-roots campaign if you will to stave off any cuts.”

(more…)

March 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Art, Department of Education, Economy, Film, Foreclosures, Healthcare, Housing, Labor Department, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. Comments off.

Tea Party Update…

Awesome, national movement the people are speaking, YAY AMERICA!!! WOOHOO! 2010 baby midterm elections, let’s get some BALANCE  :0)

Nashville

Nashville

From CSM via EM:

Several thousand neopatriots – some shouting “Give me liberty or give me death!” – took to the streets in over 30 US cities Friday, representing what some of them call the beginning of a new conservative counterculture in America.

“The spark has been lit,” says Ben Mihalski, a “house husband” from Cobb County, Ga., one of at least 300 protesters who gathered in a hefty downpour outside the Georgia Capitol on Friday to protest what they see as profligate spending by Washington.

Michigan

Michigan

Protesters with sign-slogans like “Pillage and plunder: At least the Vikings did it openly” fanned out across capitols and courthouses in cities from Nashville, Tenn., to Los Angeles, objecting to bailouts and policy changes since the inauguration of President Obama.

The Tea Party USA movement also added some symbolic flourish, vowing to gather tens of thousands of tea bags to be dumped on the floor of the US Congress. In Atlanta, the brand was Luzianne.

Photos from MM, please go see all the pics and video at her site!

But the largely grassroots show of force hints at a sharpening thorn for Democrats and a potential powder keg that could threaten to blow ahead of the 2010 congressional elections.

via ACE HQ , Chicago photo from unliberatedwoman more at her site!!

Chicago

Chicago

“It’s worth remembering that the rise of the New Right and the Christian Right, one after the other, were both spurred by tax issues, the whole idea of paying for things they don’t believe in,” says sociologist Eugenia Deerman at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston who studies conservative social movements.

Denver

Denver

Only in America Baby! How amazing is it that despite all our diversity, we have a tight cohesive bond based on our very own, very clear , very certain sense of what is and what is not the American Way. We KNOW who we are and we LOVE who we are, unlike some of our political representatives sad to say.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

Clearly we gave not forgotten who we are despite what some may say…

And we are passionate in our belief in America and our ability to be self sufficient and entrepeneurial and overcome ANY obstacle. We THRIVE on challenge. We do not want handouts or bailouts or a new system of governance or ideology or cultural collective and subservience to some politician’s idea of a ‘greater good’. Millions of us do have that belief and we live it in our daily lives and our faith, whatever it may be, and we do NOT want the government putting their big feet into our American Way of Life. /editorial off :0)

February 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Finance, Foreclosures, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Ode to the middle class on the new Obama Budget….

February 26, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Healthcare, Housing, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Unemployment Statistics. 1 comment.

Stimulus Unemployment Benefits: Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen may reject unemployment expansion funds too…AL also…

Add a Democrat to the growing ranks of Governors who would rather not raise business taxes in a few years when the Federal money runs out….

WSJ:

Bredesen, who says he is “on a fairly short list” of candidates for health and human services secretary, told a Chattanooga paper that he is considering turning down federal funds for unemployment insurance included in the economic recovery package signed by the president last week.

He would be the first Democrat to refuse part of the stimulus for states, joining Republican governors like South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, who is giving the GOP response to Obama’s economic address this evening.

Bredesen is concerned that accepting $141 million for Tennessee’s unemployment insurance would force the state to expand the program and leave state taxpayers with the bill in two years’ time.

“We are evaluating this piece of money, whether it makes sense for us to take it,” he said. “We may well be one of the states that say we can’t take on that portion of it.”

ALABAMA UPDATE: From Al.com

Gov. Riley said the $66 million allocated to Alabama for expanded unemployment benefits would run out in four years, leaving the state with a permanent unfunded mandate that would result in a $17-million-a-year tax in crease on employers and possibly employees.

As Gov. Riley noted, this is a tax on jobs “at a time when we need to create jobs.” Gov. Barbour pointed out that “you don’t get more jobs by putting an extra tax on creating jobs.”

February 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. Comments off.

Stimulus Package: Unemployment Benefits Additions explained….Jindall refuses money to expand eligibility for UE benefits, accepts the funds for those already eligible…

workforfoodGovernor Jindall is accepting funds for LA to increase the UE benefits $25.00 a week to those  eligible under existing UE guidelines, but is rejecting the ‘incentive’ funds designed to expand UE to Part Time workers and those who voluntarily resign for certain reasons.I totally support this move, it makes the msot fiscal sense. Details on the incentives below..

Stimulus Package Unemployment Benefit details explained, from Workforce Management:

The stimulus package also could result in lasting changes to the nation’s unemployment insurance system. Under the legislation, the federal government would fund states to modernize programs criticized by some as plagued by outdated eligibility requirements. Incentive payments would go to states that have, or would adopt, certain features in their jobless-benefits programs.

What do the states have to agree to to get the funds? Note: LA Governor Jindall turned down this money today for LA:

Chief among the reforms specified in the act is use of an “alternative base period.” This is designed to get states to consider a person’s earnings in the most recent completed quarter when determining eligibility, which can help lower-wage workers qualify for benefits.

States using an alternative base period could receive additional money if they have or embrace at least two other measures from a list of options. The possibilities include allowing people seeking part-time work to qualify for benefits and not disqualifying individuals from jobless benefits if they’ve left work for a compelling family reason, including the illness or disability of a family member.

Other changes to unemployment in the stimulus (warning MSNBC linky, ugh!):

The stimulus bill also increases weekly unemployment benefits by $25 through 2009. The amount of your unemployment benefits continues to vary based on your previous income and your state, but everyone will receive an extra $25 per week. This increase is automatic — people who are receiving benefits won’t need to take any special steps to boost their benefits. But it may take a few weeks for the state unemployment offices to reprogram their software programs and add the extra money, says Rich Hobbie, executive director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

Plus, people collecting unemployment benefits get a tax break. Unemployment benefits are usually subject to federal income tax. But people receiving unemployment benefits in 2009 will be able to exclude the first $2,400. Any benefits you receive beyond that in 2009 will be subject to federal income tax.

The bill also extends the emergency unemployment-compensation program, which provides up to 33 weeks of extended unemployment benefits to workers who exhaust their regular benefits. Contact your state unemployment-benefits office for more information about receiving extended benefits (see the unemployment benefits map for links.

For more information about collecting unemployment benefits, see What You Need to Know About Unemployment Benefits.

Debate continues on efficacy of changes:

The likely effect of the modernization reforms on employers is subject to debate, with one side arguing that a stronger safety net will help businesses by stimulating economic demand amid downturns and another camp worried that firms’ unemployment taxes will rise.

More on some Governors turning down the funds, warning NYT:

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana announced Friday that he would reject a portion of expanded unemployment benefits that would eventually require the state to raise taxes on businesses.

And the governors of Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas have said their states may not want to meet the conditions that accompany the money or expand programs that will have to be paid for by the state once the stimulus money runs out.

From BayouBuzz.com:

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that the state will not change its law to use a part of the $787 billion federal stimulus bill that would result in an unemployment insurance tax increase on Louisiana businesses. The Governor also announced that the state will use a provision in the legislation to increase state unemployment benefits for recipients by an extra $25 per week, and reaffirmed his acceptance of the transportation funds included in the bill to fund shovel-ready transportation priorities in the state.

(more…)

February 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 8 comments.

Geithner Team’s New Math….

No wonder the stimulus and housing plans are a flop…..

February 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 1 comment.

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