Stimulus Unemployment Benefits Update: TX, FL, AL, LA, Miss, SC, VA…

Updates on stimulus unemployment benefits…to get an idea how widely the amounts vary from state to state this line in an AP piece jumped out at me:  The highest weekly unemployment compensation is $584 in New Jersey, $362 in Michigan and $240 in Arizona…(It’s a crap shoot, and God willing your cost of living will match up with your benefit amount)

The $25.00 a week unemployment boost is available to EVERYONE, Congress mandated it, but it is temporary and when funding runs out, it is gone. The only variant on that benefit is how quickly states get the funds out..

TX: (Chron.com)

Congress made sure some money is directly available for citizens without waiting for governmental decisions. Among other things:

• • Most Texans’ paychecks will be a little fatter starting this month as the Making Work Pay tax credit kicks in and employers reduce their payroll tax withholdings by about $13 a week.

• • Texas’ jobless are now receiving an extra $25 a week in their benefits as mandated by Congress, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

• • Food stamp recipients soon will get about $38 a month more to spend on necessities, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Update on the expansion of unemployment benefits which would require changes to state law:

FL: (Sun-Sentinel):

For Florida’s jobless residents, unemployment compensation is a lifesaver. But if the state doesn’t act soon, unemployed residents who exhaust their jobless benefits may be out of luck.  Florida is eligible to receive $777 million in federal money that would provide 20 more weeks of jobless benefits, in addition to the 59-week maximum now allowed. Those who have exhausted their benefits but have not yet found a job would qualify, as well as those just recently laid off…

…”We’re waiting to see what the federal government is going to do,” said Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, whose commerce committee has proposed a general bill addressing unemployment compensation.

There are a handful of other bills, but none extends benefits for Florida’s unemployed who have exhausted benefits and still don’t have a new job….

…Unemployed workers who receive 26 weeks of regular benefits are entitled to 33 weeks of emergency benefits under Obama’s stimulus package, a cash infusion geared to jump-start the U.S. economy….The maximum weekly jobless check is $275 plus $25 extra as part of the stimulus….

FL-Orlando Sentinel advises the legislature NOT take the money, follow linky for the number on what it will cost the state to expand benefits:

….House GOP leaders are happy for Florida to accept nearly $2.2 billion from Washington to cover the temporary cost of boosting weekly jobless benefits by $25 and adding as many as 20 weeks to the normal 26 weeks workers can collect them.

But they’re justifiably balking at taking another $443 million — about two months worth of payments from Florida’s unemployment-compensation trust fund — in return for permanently changing the way the state calculates benefits and permanently expanding eligibility….

NY: A commenter asks about NYS, NY has a very high benefit level, go to their site HERE for more info…

ME: (Mainebiz):

The governor is pushing a bill that would change the way Maine triggers its extended unemployment benefits, a measure that could bring as much as $38 million in federal funds to pay for up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for jobless Mainers.

The bill requires the creation of a fund of about $500,000 to pay for unemployment benefits of public and tribal employees, people who are prohibited from receiving benefit extensions via the federal economic recovery act. Creating that fund triggers federal stimulus money that would be directed to private sector employees who lost their jobs, according to Capital News Service.

VA: (Fredericksburg.com):

–Tomorrow,(4/8) the General Assembly will vote whether to let Virginia accept an additional $125 million for unemployment insurance benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

(more…)

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April 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Politics, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. 1 comment.

Stimulus Unemployment Benefits Update: VA, FL, ME, OH, IN…

Updates on how states’ legislators are moving on the UE benefits money in the stimulus:

OH: (TimesBulletin)

…Ohio is one of 13 states plus the District of Columbia that is missing out on federal stimulus funding for extended unemployment benefits. State legislators would have to make a change in the law to make those who have reached the end of their already-extended unemployment benefits eligible for up to 20 more weeks of benefits.

A provision in the stimulus bill would cover the extension of benefits beyond the first phase of 26 weeks and the second phase of 33 weeks, but that provision kicks in only for states that average more than 6.5 percent unemployment in a three-month period. Those states would receive funding for 13 weeks of benefits, and if the rate clears 8.0 percent for a three-month period, another 7 weeks are available.

…, 16 states and Puerto Rico already qualify for the extended benefits program under one of the program’s provisions: Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Alaska, Connecticut, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Washington qualify for 13 weeks of benefits.

Oregon and Rhode Island already qualify for 20 weeks of extended benefits. As a result, about 405,000 workers in those states will qualify for extended benefits when their EUC benefits expire between now and June.

States that would have to change law to allow workers to receive the extended benefits besides Ohio are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee.

(more…)

March 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Politics, Taxes, Unemployment Statistics. 28 comments.

Economic Stimulus Update: Unemployment Benefits…FL

by Keith Knight

by Keith Knight

The states are between a rock and a hard place on the stimulus, to take or not to take, that is the question…

LYRICS, ROLLING STONES:

The fields of Eden Are full of trash
But if we beg and we borrow and steal
We’ll never get it back

People are hungry They crowd around
And the city gets bigger as the country comes begging to town
We’re stuck between a rock And a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place

Update from FL, where the GOP Governor and State Legislature are having the same battles over the Federal Stimulus as we are in AZ….

St Petersburg Times:

Crist portrays the federal aid as a panacea that would allow the state to avoid deep budget cuts, afford some property-tax cuts and increase spending.

“It’s a whole new world,” Crist said. “We’re in an economic crisis. We need this money to get us to a bridge to a better future. And I believe that by the time those three years pass we will be on the rebound.”

But three years of record job losses, plummeting tax collections and a flat-lined housing market mean legislators don’t all share Crist’s optimism. “The governor has a very positive outlook and I mean that with all due respect,” said Republican Senate President Jeff Atwater. “We don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know how deep this (bad economy) is going to go. We don’t know how long this is going to last.”

That is the question. What happens if the economy doesn not recover and all these long term changes to state laws are enacted? The states would be in thrall to Federal handouts..

Legislators fret that Crist’s $66.5 billion budget proposal for next year is based on rosy financial assumptions that will likely be disproved when state economists meet March 13 to estimate state revenues. Also of concern in Crist’s budget: Of the government expenses that occur annually, 12 percent would be paid for through one-time money sources, such as the stimulus package.

What does it take to get it passed?

The state Constitution requires a supermajority vote of the Legislature if more than 3 percent of recurring expenses are funded from one-time money sources.

Legislators worry about expanding government programs — especially Medicaid — with money that would disappear in three years, leaving the state with large entitlement programs and less money.

“It’s like someone gave you a Mercedes and said they made a few down payments. Now the rest is up to you,” said Punta Gorda Republican Rep. Paige Kreegel.

Atwater and acting House Speaker Larry Cretul say they’re also unsure what strings might be attached to the hastily passed stimulus package.

The package seeks to ensure that legislators don’t cut programs that already receive federal money. So to get the bulk of the cash, Florida has to maintain relatively high levels of spending for health care, schools and transportation.

(more…)

March 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Labor Department, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 1 comment.

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