January’s unemployment rate ties a 35 year high.
Never before have 1.1 million Floridians been out of work. But the jobless numbers could have been higher If governor Charlie Crist hadn’t signed legislation freezing an unemployment tax hike.
Wednesday he celebrated the freeze.
“This would have had a horrendous negative impact on businesses throughout the state,” said Crist.
The tax would have increased from eight dollars an employee to more than 100.
Now it will go up to just 25 bucks.
Cynthia Lorenzo, the Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation, says many business owners planned to layoff employees to pay the tax.
“As a result of this legislation 15-thousand jobs will be saved. Bolstering business and saving jobs is exactly what we need to be doing.”
But efforts haven’t stopped the state’s job crisis.
The state is out of money to pay jobseekers, and while the increase is being delayed the state will borrow more than 2 billion dollars from the federal government to pay unemployment claims.
It’s a loan businesses will have to pay back when the freeze ends.
“I think we’ll worry about that two years from now, what we have to worry about currently is what happens to the people today,” said
The tax delay is expected to save businesses a billion dollars over the next two years.
Lawmakers hope the savings will be spent creating more jobs.
There is some good news to report on the job market tonight.
The federal government is sending 200 million dollars to the state.
The money will be given to businesses who hire Floridians living way below the poverty level.
It’s expected to create 25-thousand jobs by year’s end.