Wisconsin Panel Recommends Unemployment Extension

Posted: June 26th, 2011 | Author: wmspringer | Filed under: Uncategorized | 215 Comments »

Some good news out of Wisconsin – a rules change may allow for people to collect benefits for a bit longer. As of April, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has improved by enough that the state no longer qualifies for 13 weeks of Tier 3 benefits. However, the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council voted 9-0 last week to change how the unemployment rate is calculated; under the change, Wisconsin would use the average of the past three year’s unemployment rates rather than the previous two years. As a result of the change, the state would qualify for an additional $90 million in federal dollars made available by the 2009 stimulus, providing a benefit of up to $363 per week for an additional 13 weeks for up to 11,000 people.

If the legislature approves the changes, the extended benefits will apply retroactively from the end of April. However, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers, who control both branches of the state legislature, oppose any unemployment extension.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona Endorses Unemployment Extension

Posted: May 21st, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 203 Comments »

Governor Brewer, the republican governor of Arizona, announced yesterday that she was supposed extended unemployment benefits for state workers, and is requesting that lawmakers alter the law to allow 15,000 people who have exhausted their benefits to continue collecting unemployment. While republicans general oppose unemployment benefits, she noted that the extended benefits would be paid for by the federal government under the extension approved in December. The change allows people to continue to receive benefits for the maximum 99 weeks; otherwise, under Arizona’s formula the lower jobless rate would cause benefits to stop at 79 weeks.

States individually had to decide whether or not to accept the federal funding, with some being opposed over fears that they would not be able to continue funding benefits at the higher level after the federal money runs out. In Arizona, Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa opposed keeping the extended benefits, saying that they amount to paying people not to look for work, while Democrats have called for immediate action.

Florida Cuts Unemployment Benefits

Posted: May 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 201 Comments »

On May 6th, the republican-controlled House and Senate in Florida passed a bill to cut unemployment benefits in Florida; republican governor Rick Scott is expected to sign it. The bill will cut the maximum state benefits by 3 weeks when the jobless rate is 10.5 percent or higher, and by as much as 14 weeks as unemployment decreases. Florida, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, was already one of the states offering the lowest amount of unemployment benefits.

A number of other states are considering similar cuts, or have already implemented them; Michigan, for example, has reduced benefits by six weeks as well. Many states did not collect enough in premiums while the economy was growing to pay benefits now, and as of March, 32 states and the Virgin Islands no longer have any money in the unemployment fund and have been forced to borrow to pay premiums. Additionally, republicans are generally opposed to providing unemployment benefits on principal, claiming the system as an unneeded tax on businesses.

In Florida, the money saved on unemployment benefits will be used to cut corporate taxes.

Unemployment Extension Act of 2010

Posted: December 17th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 219 Comments »

Unemployment extension update today – President Obama signed a bill into law today that extends the unemployment extensions discussed on this website by another 13 months, to the end of 2011. While the majority of the $858 billion bill will go towards tax cuts, it continues extended unemployment at current levels, and is also expected to drop the unemployment rate by a minimum of half a percent over the next year.

Those who are working at least part time will also benefit from a temporary cut in the social security deduction, from 6.2% to 4.2% of salary; the social security tax will be restored to normal levels in 2012.

Republicans Kill Unemployment Extension

Posted: November 18th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 178 Comments »

Congressional Democrats attempted today to extend unemployment benefits ahead of their expiration on November 30th, but House Republicans blocked the bill. As a result, 800,000 Americans will love benefits at the end of the month (2 million by the end of the year).

Democrats still have a majority in the House during the current lame-duck session, but to avoid anyone losing benefits, they brought the bill to the floor under fast-track procedures that require a 2/3 majority; as such, with only 21 Republicans voting in favor of the bill and 143 opposing it, it failed to pass despite a 258-154 vote in favor. The bill can be brought back under regular rules, which will require more time but can pass with a simple majority; however, Republicans are expected to filibuster it in the senate.

Unless Congress takes action, unemployment benefits will no longer be available for more than 26 weeks.