The latest bipartisan congressional effort to restore several months of federal unemployment insurance benefits received a cool reception Wednesday from a state legislative oversight committee. U.S. Senate Bill 2149 would provide five months of federal UI benefits, retroactive to Jan. 1, to more than 2 million eligible claimants nationwide. That would include more than 170,000 North Carolinians. States would not be required to pay back the 100 percent federally funded benefits.
Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said they would not support North Carolina trying to become eligible for the retroactive benefits. Howard said much of her opposition is the “logistical nightmare” cited by Avrette. She also the North Carolina economy hasn’t “fallen off a cliff” since North Carolina became disqualified from receiving the federal extended benefits.
If you've quite finished your navel-gazing, maybe you should talk to some of those families who did fall off the cliff when their benefits were abruptly cut off. There's a hell of a lot more to this story than just paying off the debt early, and refusing this money that won't cost the state a dime except in administrative functions is unnecessarily cruel.
“But if this is passed,” asked Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenberg County Republican, “what would be the procedure, and what would be required of North Carolina?”
The proposal is far from a done deal in Washington. Should it get approval, it would be up to executive leaders in the state to set up the system to get these federal benefits paid out. State leaders say this could be cumbersome.
“Sometimes people confuse the words simple and easy,” said Dale Folwell, Assistant Sectary of Commerce. “They are not the same words.”
Okay, how about "deceptive" or "incompetent"? ESC/DES has already been administering these Federal UI benefits for years, and now you posturing buffoons are acting like this is some new thing. If DAG McCrory were anything but a figurehead Governor, he would ask Folwell, "What's so hard about restarting a program that ran smoothly before?"
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan wants North Carolina to rejoin the rest of the states whose long-term unemployed residents could again benefit from emergency unemployment benefits should Congress restore them nationwide in the new year.
Hagan scheduled a Monday news conference in Raleigh with Democratic leaders of the General Assembly to talk about a provision that would make North Carolina eligible again to offer these federal benefits to the jobless. These benefits went away in North Carolina back in July after the legislature scaled back state benefits going forward.
It looks like Congressional Republicans are (once again) using humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip to force spending cuts elsewhere, a nasty habit for which voters should punish them severely. Of course they won't, but if this deal does go forward, we desperately need to be back in that particular game, instead of being the only state that isn't.
Leading up to the recession, many states cut the employment taxes that support the trust funds, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with the growth in joblessness that followed.
“I will not outsource these tough decisions,” McCrory said. “This bipartisan solution will protect our small businesses from continued over-taxation (and) ensure our citizens’ unemployment safety net is secure and financially sound for future generations.”
That's right. Not only did he fail to mention the tax cuts that brought about this current debt problem, McCrory's reference to "continued over-taxation" is an attempt to rewrite history to a version where those tax cuts never happened. Figuring out whether this attempt is intentional or not will only serve one purpose: to determine if we have a liar or an idiot for a Governor. There is no third option.
Because North Carolina leaders cut average weekly benefits for new claims, about 170,000 workers whose state benefits expire this year will lose more than $700 million in EUC payments, the U.S. Labor Department said. The Labor Department declined to comment on North Carolina's looming situation but said no other state is considering changing benefits in a way that would imperil U.S. help.
That's because no other state has a government that has totally abandoned its people in favor of corporate control, and no other state's political party has embraced pay-to-play politics anywhere near the level the NC GOP does. And this kind of mindless rambling makes me furious:
The loss of EUC funding will be devastating to the hardest hit North Carolinians--170,000 former workers who have already been without jobs for six months or more. The loss of funding will also hurt the broader economy, which brings me back to those original GDP figures. At a time when the state's economy is only growing slowly, unevenly, and actually shedding jobs; the legislature and governor are about to pull $700 million directly out of the state's economy. That figure represents 3.5 percent of all of the economic growth that the state experienced last year.
What's even worse, not only are those funds immediately injected into the economy in a diffused manner (spread around), said injected funds are naturally utilized in geographical areas that need it the most. The higher the unemployment rate in a given area, the more people receiving benefits, the more money into the local economy, etc. This was just a bad idea all around, and will likely produce even more unemployed.
At present, about 81,000 people are receiving those benefits, which bring about $100 million into the state's economy every month. Despite that impact, House and Senate leaders say they won't delay the overhaul. McCrory said he won't delay it, either. "I refuse to let us continue to live off of a credit card. We're going to pay off the credit card. We're going to change the rules and policies," he said.
You mean, you refuse to let families of the unemployed live off a credit card. And when those home foreclosure notices start rolling in, where will McCrory and other Republican leaders be? Probably at some fundraising function in a McMansion or four-star restaurant, talking about how people "need to live within their means." They couldn't be more removed from reality if they tried.
If the expiration occurs, North Carolinians would receive up to 26 weeks of regular state benefits rather than what had been up to 99 weeks of state and federal benefits. This means anyone whose job was terminated or ended after June 30 will not get any more federal unemployment benefits.
Leaving them to rely exclusively on the absent sympathy of NC Republicans:
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