Stimulus Unemployment Update: TX and AZ legislature move on changes for funding…

AZ Capitol Times:

The Senate suspended rules April 20 to consider amending two bills to ensure that Arizona collects federal stimulus money for Medicaid programs and for extended unemployment benefits.

Today, the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee is scheduled to hear the strike-everything amendments to S1102 and S1322. The plan is to pass the measures this week. Both bills contain an emergency clause and would require a supermajority to pass…

…S1322, meanwhile, would allow Arizonans to receive extended unemployment benefits at no cost to the state through the end of the year. …the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made several temporary changes to the extended unemployment benefits program to say the federal government will pay 100 percent of the program’s cost – instead of the usual 50 percent.

First, though, the state must change statute to reflect that the federal government will cover 100 percent of the program’s cost through the end of 2009. Other technical changes also must be made.

Existing state statute provides for a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits if certain “trigger points” are met based on unemployment factors in the labor market.

Department of Economic Security spokeswoman Liz Barker said the trigger points have never been reached. It is unlikely they will be reached in the current economic downturn without statutory changes, she said.


Senators just voted 19-11 for Sen. Kevin Eltife’s bill to expand the state’s unemployment insurance program in order to draw down $555 million in federal stimulus dollars. The bill would ignore Gov. Rick Perry’s wish that the state not receive the stimulus dollars for unemployment…

…Eltife said the federal dollars will cover the cost of changes to the program for nine years and result in the state borrowing less money to keep the state’s unemployment trust fund afloat.

Perry has said he thinks the current unemployment program in Texas works just fine, and that increasing the benefits will increase unemployment taxes on businesses once the federal money runs out….

April 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Economy, Labor Department, Politics, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. Comments off.

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: (

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: (

–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.


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

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