Reining in Unemployment

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - A scenario is making its rounds through the state capitol… Unemployed workers turning down jobs to keep their benefits… The story is anecdotal, but a house committee has ordered a study.

As of now… none of the power players, including the governor and senate president believe a significant number of people are ripping off the system.

“This is really anecdote right. My experience with people that are out of work, they’re looking for jobs,” said Governor Rick Scott.

“There might be a small few that are gaming it and that is what happens when you have a big government program. What I do know is this; there is one out of eight Floridians out of work right now and they want to work,” said Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

But they still think something needs to be done to lower the burden of 12 percent unemployment on businesses and the state. Florida is barrowing 115 million dollars a month to pay the unemployed, and business taxes are tripling in an attempt to pay it back.

Legislation was filed Monday to purge the rolls of unemployed people not actively seeking jobs. The bill requires people receiving unemployment pay to take any job after 12 weeks if the pay is equal or higher than their weekly 275 dollar unemployment checks.

William Barr, who’s been unemployed for nearly two years, says the legislation won’t force his hand… because he’s willing to take anything.

Reporter: Have you turned down a job in the last two years?
William: No sir. I’ve been looking. It’s kind of tough.

Governor Rick Scott hasn’t reviewed the legislation. He’ll release his plans for unemployment reform later this month.


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  • by No longer a Rick Scott supporter on Feb 4, 2011 at 01:40 PM
    The state legislators write laws supported by lobbyist. The lobbyists are hired by the Employers to support their interest, not the Workers. If you are now saying the legislator has written bad laws, then I am saying that too is the Employers fault, not the Workers. You need to have both side represented in the governor’s panel and they don’t. This is not going get resolve until you start making the Employers Financially Accountable. They should be the ones paying for the higher cost in unemployment premiums. They are the ones causing the problems. GV is stating they are causing the problems because the economy, well let’s do a study on that and see. I can tell you my employer did layoffs not because of financial woes, but because they had a cfo who wanted to capitalized on the current labor market. They got rid of us so they could lower their payroll cost, by hiring people cheaper and doubling up work on the one’s they kept. Now of course there are Mom and Pop shops that are truly impacted by the economy and have no choice but to lay off, but there are also a lot of greed CFO’s trying to capitalize on the high unemployment numbers and they are the ones that should be paying the higher unemployment premiums and Scott know this because he is a former CFO
  • by No longer a Rick Scott supporter on Feb 4, 2011 at 01:18 PM
    Ok GV, if you are going to now blame the economy, instead of the employers, who are the ones actual ones putting everyone in the unemployment line, that's is great, but at one time it seem like you were trying to blame the employees. I really wish you would pick a side and stick to it.
  • by lee Location: Tallahassee on Feb 3, 2011 at 08:23 AM
    Nascar Dad: Except for *minimum wage jobs*, the tax burden ends up being shared by both the empoyer and employee, as part of the total perquisites. Your quibble is based on a silly argument anyway - after all, why does the employer hire people to begin with? Make-work? Of course not. Either an business can budget an employee or it can't. The real problem is whether businesses should be penalized with higher unemployment insurance after forced layoffs in a bad economy. Yes the unemployment insurance fund needs bolstering in times like this, but it shouldn't further burden businesses that are just scraping by & are forced to lay off their employees - that leads to cost compoundment. We need to think before we shoot: Blame our state legislators for writing bad statutes, not the deeper-burdened working stiffs who are working to fund their hapless counterparts now collecting unemployment.
  • by leon Location: Tallahassee on Feb 3, 2011 at 08:09 AM
    Our Repub Leg is cutting the budget on the backs of already overworked workers: Florida already ranks in the bottom 10 for state workforce & cost of state gov't. State workers haven't had a pay raise in 8 years & are paying more for health insurance. A big part of the budget mess stem the "save our homes" (SOHA) super-homestead law that has led to non-progressive taxation, where lower valued properties shoulder more tax burden along with post-SOHA homeowners paying double or triple the taxes of their pre-SOHA neighbors! BE wary of Repubs blaming state employees: In some agency divisions the employees resort to bringing *IN* their own office supplies. Some divisions are still stuck in 1980's & 1990's paper-based business processes, with no electronic databases or web-based workflows, increasing costs for everybody. But more budget cuts means increased costs, but a progressive tax code could balance the budget by funding projects that increase efficiency (never mind elevator safety).
  • by Dan Location: Crawfordville, Fl on Feb 3, 2011 at 06:48 AM
    Sorry that Nascar Dad has a job and not looking right now or have a family to support over the holidays without food stamps and have to wait 3 weeks for a $275 check, Attitude would change real quick then. Simple fact is, all benefits from employment come from the employer and if the employee would be asked to pay,there would be no unemployment insurance, and society would just deteriorate when the rich take advantage of the poor. The state sets the unemployment insurance rates and has to borrow because they did not do their jobs effectivly. Fact also is This is Insurance and the insurance company does not want to pay when for when big losses happen. The legislative aides are trying to assure that losing benifits for refusing a substandard job is not in the bill. Time to research House bill 319 and senate bill 562.
  • by justaguylookingforajob Location: TLH on Feb 2, 2011 at 05:13 PM
    Forcing those receiving unemployment pay and don't want to work to except job offers will adversely affect and prevent those who are unemployed, not receiving unemployment, and do want to work from finding jobs.
  • by watcher Location: nearby on Feb 2, 2011 at 01:24 PM
    So the bill will require you to become a slave to an employer who may abuse and overwork you and are you supposed to perform tasks that you are not trained to do or are not physically able to do safely? What about the jobs you are already qualified for but none or few are available. Are all of the trained organized labor construction workers going to be refused work by a non union employer because the employer can get a lesser or almost equally trained person to do the same job for the same or lesser cost of the UE weekly pay ammount? I have to agree with Chuck - a past governor and Legislature gave away the state`s "rainy day fund" and never gave a thought of saving or being conservative with their expenses.
  • by Jonathan Swift Location: Florida on Feb 2, 2011 at 01:07 PM
    Swell! Blame the victims...
  • by Chuck Location: Tallahassee on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    If the idiot legislature hadn't screwed up the state economy so badly we wouldn't be spending so much of our tax revenue on unemployment, medicaid, and most types of insurance. I don't think revenue from bingo and poker will go very far towards fixing the economy.
  • by Didn't vote for Scott Location: Tallahassee on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:52 PM
    So the Village Idiot wants to rein in unemployment?! And how many of our hard working State Employees did he add to the rate!!!!!
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