There will be no increase in unemployment benefits for Floridians this year.
Legislation that would have boosted the top unemployment benefits by $100 per week has died because the state House declined to take up a bipartisan Senate bill to that effect on the final day of the annual legislative session.
That means jobless people in the state will continue to eke by on no more than $275 per week — which, when combined with the nation’s shortest eligibility period, ranks among the most miserly benefit in the country. [It’s been 24 years since Florida last raised the benefit, doing so by a maximum of $25 a week in 1997. In inflation-adjusted dollars, today’s $275 would have been equivalent to $168 in 1997. If the state’s benefit had kept up with inflation, the $275 benefit would have been $457 today. Last month Gov. Ron DeSantis made clear he was opposed to an increase in benefits.]
“Yes, it died — Florida House Republicans did nothing to increase unemployment benefits for Florida’s families,” Democrat Anna Eskamani, a leading proponent of the increase, told the Phoenix via text message.
The benefits bill also would have increased the period for drawing benefits from the existing 12 weeks to 14 weeks. The maximum amount collectable in one year would have grown from from $6,325 to $9,375. [No other state has a benefit window as short as Florida’s. Only two states have benefits lower than Florida’s, but with 26-week windows.]
In the Senate, the bipartisan measure (SB 1906) passed unanimously. But Gov. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Chris Sprowls both were hostile to any increase. The bill died without ever coming up in the lower chamber, although the GOP majority had rejected attempts to amend the increase into other legislation.
A bill the Legislature has sent to the governor would beef up the mechanics of state’s unemployment compensation system, which collapsed under the massive demand at the height of COVID job losses. That bill requires that the Department of Economic Opportunity find a cloud server host that can be expanded in periods of high demand. But that bill did not address benefits levels.
–Michael Moline, Florida Phoenix, and FlaglerLive
Deborah Coffey says
The only benefits Republicans grant are to themselves and their big donors. Benefit people? Never. In fact, they actually think the middle and lower classes and the unemployed are worthless…used only to produce for big business. Let them eat cake. Right?
No surprise DeSantis knocks down everything that would allow people to get back on their feet after the Covid virus outbreak that he ignored like his idol did. I would like to know the statistics of how many innocent people died in Florida because he failed to do anything.
Now he is of course suppressing voters’ rights and making it harder to go to the polls and even wants to plant spies on who votes and for who doesn’t that sound like something that happens in communistic countries. Well, guess what welcome to DeSantis Cult Republican State of Florida.
I am sure sooner or later President Biden will put a stop to all this corruption and allow fair elections to all no matter what the color of their skin is. But Trump and DeSantis aren’t smart enough to realize that yet.
He is following everything Donald tells him to do since he thinks he will be his running mate in 2024 election.
Wonder if that will actually take place after Rudy spills the beans to stay out of prison for the rest of his life and believe me Rudy will spill the beans on all of them.
Why would Joe Biden stop corruption when he is corrupt. Democrats are ruining this country.
Dan Priotti says
Unemployment benefits should be scrutinized to the fullest. Weather you are educated or not. There should be no such thing as over qualified for any job position. There’s help wanted and now hiring signs everywhere. If you are collecting unemployment you should be ashamed of yourself. What happen to work ethics? Americans at one time got off the couch and worked to put food on the table. If you can’t see the Democratic platform is destroying our great country , you are blind as a bat
Ray W. says
I see Dan Priotti’s point about scrutinizing unemployment benefits cases. I recall a series of articles in the early 70’s highlighting the fact that the average investigative welfare fraud caseworker, paid just under $14k in salary and benefits, saved the government approximately $40k per year. Yet, in the interest of small government, the Ford administration had been cutting only the investigative positions, not caseworker positions handling welfare applications. That policy made little sense to me at the time, but it may still be a priority to some that the interests of small government are more important than hiring enough people to closely scrutinize everyone who is receiving unemployment benefits. Dan Priotti has a point, but small government remains a large plank in the Republican platform. The solution Dan Priotti seeks on this limited point may never occur, but he should blame Republicans if it doesn’t.
Second, if it is indeed true that reports establish that about 10 million women left the workforce during the initial phases of the pandemic, could it also be true that many of those 10 million women did so to care for their family members of all ages (some elderly people may have selected to move out of an assisted living facility out of concern or fear of contracting COVID)? And, if it is indeed true that reports establish that fewer than 2.5 million of those women have returned to the workforce, can it also be true that many women have decided to permanently leave the workforce because they restructured their values to put family before work? I am not saying this is true, but I am asking the question. If it is true, then those women would not be sitting on a couch, as Dan Priotti accuses; they would be raising or preserving families in a new normal routine. However, taking 7.5 million people out of a workforce will result in a large number of job openings going unfilled for reasons other than Dan Priotti’s allegations. Let’s face it, in this scenario, the worst jobs at the lowest pay will be the last to be filled. And, yes, men could be leaving the workforce, too. I spoke with a casual friend yesterday who told me he had decided to resign from his high-stress position with a long-term employer. He discussed the issue with his wife and he wanted to spend a long summer with his children who are about to leave for college. When he is ready, he will seek employment in a different field. I suspect his future employer will be quite satisfied with his skills, but I doubt he will choose an employer who wants to take advantage of him.
Dan Priotti’s final point, while arguable, is much weaker than the others. Democratic policies have problems and should be debated and refined, but the idea that those policies are solely responsible for destroying the country, when the country is not being destroyed, goes too far. That the country has been damaged over the last year need not be debated. However, the original $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed 96-0 in the Senate, so to claim that the Democrats are trying to destroy the country when they are actually working with Republicans to save the country is foolhardy at best and downright unethically dishonest at worse. The second stimulus package was sponsored by Democrats and we don’t know yet whether it will further limit the damage and, if it does significantly limit the damage, the evidence is not in as to just how successful it will turn out to be. Is it valid to argue – a invalid point keeps one from getting into the argument and an valid point allows one to either win or lose the argument once he or she gets into one – that Republican policies of denial of disease and repudiation of medically accepted advice at both the state and federal levels vastly increased the monetary and health impact COVID had on the entire country.
Dan Priotti may be premature in placing blame solely on Democrats and he may simply be completely wrong, not that he would ever admit how wrong he was if it turns out that Democrats took the correct course to address the myriad problems caused by the pandemic.
As for work ethic, I agree with Dan Priotti; it is important and the lack of a work ethic is a problem. I expand his point to ask whatever happened to employer ethics? I have been blessed with great employers when I chose to work for someone, but I cannot take the leap that all employers treat their employees well. Some are indifferent to their employees. Others take advantage of all who wander into their orbit. This is a very old argument. In one of the early U.S. Supreme Court cases addressing a state’s power to impose hourly restrictions on female employees, the Court upheld a state’s right to impose a limit of 60 hours per week for contracted female employees. The government argued that the limit was necessary because mothers needed time off to be with their families. Business owners challenged the statute on the ground that government could not infringe on their right to require women to contract to work 80 hours per week, which was the standard for the day. One of today’s version of this problem involves salaried employees of fast-food franchises. President Obama took a lot of heat when he signed an executive order raising the overtime requirement to salaried employees to about $45k, up from $23k. Yes, before the administrative order issued, when a restaurant manager was paid just over the $23k floor, he or she could be called upon to work long hours without receiving overtime pay. This happened to me when I managed a kitchen in a busy restaurant back when minimum wage was just over $2 per hour (almost 50 years ago). $125 a week sounded real good to me until I realized that meant my employer expected 55-65 hours per week with no overtime. I found another job with all the overtime I wanted. My first paycheck, take-home, was $174. What a difference a good boss made. I worked hard for him. I made him money and he paid me well for it. My daughter was an assistant manager in a restaurant while she was in college, but her employer paid her far above the $23k floor. When she interviewed prospective employees who were assistant managers from fast-food chains, they repeatedly told her of their low salaries and long hours. They really wanted to leave their employers to work for her company. Labor issues have been around a long time. I suspect they will be with us for a long time to come.
Brandon Cross says
For persons in upper level income $275.00 a week is but a lifeline, but an important lifeline.
Yet for those in the service industries this along with federal government additions allow for many to stay home and make more money!
Certainly not blaming those getting money for nothing… time to cut this insanity off!!!
Walk down any business street in Central Florida… most everyone is almost begging for workers.
Just my thought… stop all the entitlements… let people go back to work and everyone …save those receiving money not to work will benefit.
Conc Citizen says
I still cannot believe how anyone can vote for Republicans after they have shot down helping anyone in this state during this Pandemic. $275 weekly is not a lifeline. It’s a pittance . Should we pay rent or mortgage & not eat. Should we pay electric and water? Millions have had to prioritize where this money will go monthly, always falling short on something. People have lost their homes, cars, credit worthiness etc through no fault of their own. Have kids? How can they sleep at night?
Our govt leaders shot down an extra $25 weekly? An extra 2 weeks? Rick Scott 3.0
Jobs? How about applying for countless positions in the past year and not getting one response. Not one. You’re either overqualified or past the age ….yes I’m going to say it..age discrimination..
I’m one of these people and I have worked since I’m 16. I’ve NEVER been on Unemployment. That’s 50 yrs non-stop. And yet some of my Republican neighbors think I enjoy struggling on $275 a week? Really? Your lack of empathy, awareness, understanding & “Christian”values prove that you’re heartless & definitely NOT Christian. You’re clearly greedy selfish people.
I’ve lost friends & neighbors over the past year for their views on this ongoing crisis. Some I cannot believe I was ever friends with some them.
By the way I have an interview. They were impressed with my resume! Do you know how that made me feel? Finally someone appreciates my hard work. So you see, I do plan on getting off the couch…
R. S. says
That is deplorable indeed. Are those people totally without empathy?
“R. S. says
MAY 2, 2021 AT 8:07 PM
That is deplorable indeed. Are those people totally without empathy?”
Short answer … Yes.
While driving on N Nova Rd. (5A) I was surprised to see Checkers had a sign for hiring with a signing bonus.