Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Florida Republicans Slash Unemployment Benefits, Shift Savings To Corporations

Florida Republicans under Gov. Rick Scott (left) are continuing their party’s pattern of slashing the social safety net and shifting the savings to the wealthy and corporations. An article in The New York Times focuses on the extent of proposed cuts in unemployment benefits:

A bill that would establish some of the deepest and most far-reaching cuts in unemployment benefits in the nation is heading for the desk of Gov. Rick Scott… The legislation would cut maximum state benefits to 23 weeks from 26 when the jobless rate is 10.5 percent or higher. If lower, the maximum would decline on a sliding scale until bottoming at 12 weeks if the jobless rate was 5 percent or less.

The Miami Herald connects the dots in an article, “Florida Senate approves business tax cut that shrinks unemployment benefits”:

The Senate plan, approved on a party-line 29-10 vote, keeps the maximum benefit at 26 weeks. But it creates a sliding scale that would cut or add a week of unemployment benefits for every half-percent the unemployment rate dropped or climbed.

… The bill cuts by 10 percent the tax rate that businesses pay to cover the costs of unemployment benefits and makes it easier for companies to keep former workers from collecting benefits.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said there was no reason to connect benefits to the unemployment rate.

“This bill is not good for employees,” she said. “If I’m unemployed, I’m unemployed. And don’t tell me because the unemployment rate is low consequently what I receive is less. That’s preposterous.”

Republican Senator Nancy Detert provided the characteristic insulting argument: slashing benefits will “motivate” the unemployed to get a job:

“It encourages people to get back into the job market,” Detert said.


Jon, editor of the Oracle said...

Senator Detert's argument would be laughable if it weren't so tragic and misguided.

I am sure the million plus unemployed in our fair state would love to get back to work. Unfortunately, there is very little work to get back to. After this just crashed 2011 Florida legislative session almost 5,000 additional Floridians will be unemployed.

We can only hope that Detert and her fellow Republican legislators find themselves unemployed after the 2012 elections.

In the meantime, since Florida voters elected these clowns in Tallahassee by a slim margin, the rest of the country is getting an eye-opening lesson in what can happen if you don't bother to vote.

Jeff Tone said...

Jon, perhaps some Floridians who voted in these Republicans now have buyer's remorse. I know some Wisconsinites do.