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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Florida lawmakers say 'better luck next year' to unemployment benefits hikes

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 4:16 PM

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Florida will continue to have the most pitiful unemployment benefits in the nation for at least the rest of 2021. Senate Republicans were too busy prioritizing picking on trans kids for no reason and infringing on Floridians' First Amendment rights to pass the almost universally popular plan to raise unemployment benefits in the state.

Bills backing raising the maximum benefits amount from $275 a week, and increasing the last-in-the-nation benefits period of 12 weeks, were praised by politicians on both sides of the aisle. However, it didn't appear to be a priority for the state's top Republican.



Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the benefits in place were "fine" after a year that saw Floridians and the unemployment insurance program under unprecedented strain.  So, Republicans were able to pass a bill foisting the cost of unemployment insurance onto Floridian consumers, but not to raise the amount the average Floridian receives when they are at their neediest.

Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) said "whoopsie daisy" and hoped that Floridians would be okay with starving for another year under the current benefits allotment. Simpson, who pushed for an increase in benefits in the Senate, said resistance in the House doomed the idea. He noted that Floridians should take heart in what did get passed: protections for business owners, guns and business owners with guns.

“I think in balance we've done a lot of really good things this year,” Simpson told the News Service of Florida. “And I think it's really easy to say, ‘Hey, well, what about that issue that we didn't get done?’ And it (jobless benefits) is a big issue. It was a big issue for me. And it's something that next year, I'll probably start a little earlier on. Well, I was the one that wanted it to pass and it didn't get done. So, I'll take credit for the non-passage there.”

Next time you're down and out, wondering which bill you can skip, just know that the legislature is on it (next year) (probably).

The legislative session ends tomorrow and doesn't begin again until next January. 23,600 Floridians filed new jobless claims last week. They have less than 90 days to find a job before their benefits run out. 


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