Unemployment Changes

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - A group of fed-up unemployed Floridians stormed the state capitol Thursday. Deanna Wade traveled from South Florida to tell lawmakers to leave job seekers alone.

“If you don’t have that skill, you can’t have a job,” said Wade.

The group was stirred to action by proposed changes that would shorten the number of weeks the state would pay benefits from 26 to 20, make it harder for laid off workers to qualify and require volunteer service in exchange for weekly checks.

“Just shortening the weeks or things like that when there are no real jobs on the other end of that pipeline would really put people in jeopardy,” said Badili Jones with Florida New Majority.

The changes are being billed as a jobs creator, because they would lower business taxes.

The unemployment reform legislation comes as Governor Rick Scott lays off 15 people from the Department of Corrections and calls for another 86-hundred state jobs to be eliminated.

But Scott says handing out pink slips to state workers will help create private sector jobs.

To prove his point, Scott announced 244 new science jobs being created in Tallahassee.

“A lot of things like this are going to happen across the state,” said Scott.
At the center of the debate is a bill that comes due this fall. Florida has borrowed two billion dollars to pay unemployment claims. Unless the legislature takes action, business taxes will go up to pay the money back.

The unemployment reform legislation passed through a house committee this afternoon, on a seven to four vote.

The federal government may offer a helping hand to Florida’s unemployed, but Governor Rick Scott plans to slap it away. President Obama is planning to allow Florida to keep half a billion dollars of the two billion the state has borrowed to pay the unemployed. The catch is that Florida would have to raise its business tax in 2014. Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos says the interest on the money already borrowed is concerning, but he wants to take a look at the long term picture before he sets a senate agenda on the proposal.

“Interest payments cripple families and interest payments can cripple the state if we are not careful and we want to find a long term solution,” said Haridopolos.

The president’s plan for the unemployed will be released next week as part of his 2012 spending plan.

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  • by torn on Feb 11, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    I'm really feeling sad that Scott has set out to destroy Tallahassee. We cannot survive in this town if a lot of the State offices are cut back. We need to ALL be contacting the people that are supposed to represent us and try to stop this madness.
  • by that is too much rick Location: leon on Feb 11, 2011 at 02:36 PM
    thestate workers get shafted again. 4 hr. a week work will kill them.
  • by Unemployed Location: Tallahassee on Feb 11, 2011 at 01:31 PM
    I agree with Lip Cheese on alot of thier comments. I get up every day by 6am and to bed by 11 pm, My day consist of looking for work I am not lazy and it is depressing to be told we don't have any jobs. I rather work than receive UC, however without it I would not even have a way to perform job search. Making it more difficult to collect UC would only make it more difficult to find employment. I would be looking for shelter and food instead of a job and more of a tax burden to the community
  • by State Employeed for who knows how long Location: Tally on Feb 11, 2011 at 11:42 AM
    Instead of accepting volunteers hire the people instead then maybe they wouldn't HAVE to be on unemployment. DUH! I agree with having to show some effort on your part with job seeking, but if the jobs aren't there then what do you do?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011 at 10:45 AM
    The unemployment line will be full of state workers soon. Tallahassee will become a ghost town so all of you private employees who keep complaining about state workers just remember what you said when the only jobs in Tallahassee are the unemployment. You'll be out of work too because no one will be able to afford ANYTHING in this town.
  • by Mary Ann Location: Tallahassee on Feb 11, 2011 at 09:47 AM
    Get real folks if you have ever been on unemployment you know unemployment benefits DECREASE the longer you are on unemployment. You may start off getting say $1000 a month but then the longer you are on unemployment that $1000 goes to $500 or lower. Bon had a good question about if they would pay for the transportation or provide it for volunteering. I know when I was on unemployment I could only afford $25 a MONTH for gasoline and after that there was no going anywhere. And just because you want a job doesn't mean you can find one. I lucked into a temporary job but I have been looking for a permanent job for over 3 years. I have a friend who can't even get a temporary job.
  • by Wilhem Location: Tallahassee on Feb 11, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    Some of you people on here think that it is so simple, until you are laid off. Those of you who support this just wait, this is only the beginning, they will get you too. You will be begging for tthis to be repealed. What idiots.
  • by Denise Location: FL on Feb 11, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    One of the problems with unemployment is sometimes people can find jobs but they make more collecting unemployment than working. If the program was setup to allow someone to get a job at a lower pay scale but at least to be working and makeup the difference for so many weeks then I think you would have people getting back to work quicker. At least they would be back at work even if the state was having to pay a smaller amount not the whole thing. Also, something has to be done about welfare and something NO ONE talks about is social security being pd to KIDS/PARENTS not seniors. There are so many parents that get checks for their kids by getting a dr to say they couldn't sit still and couldn't make them mind so they had attention problems. There are THOUSANDS in Gadsden County that get this $400 to $600 hundred a month per child in addition to welfare and food stamps. The parents don't have to work just live off the ssi checks if they have a lot of kids.
  • by GV Location: Ga on Feb 11, 2011 at 06:36 AM
    Funny how people who don't pay taxes want to raise tax payer's taxes,but complain about giving alittle volunteer work back to their comunities in exchange for their free ride.Talk about being selfish and greedy.And you have the gall to call someone else greedy for wanting to keep more of their own hard earned money.Oh,and did I mention lazy?
  • by GV Location: Ga on Feb 11, 2011 at 06:29 AM
    mike,that's what I said.You are the employer,not the employee.Duh.You mean that "lip cheese"is wrong.
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