According to the National Employment Law Project, as of 2008 Florida had average weekly unemployment benefit amounts not just lower than the national average, but lower than the Southern average and just 32% of its jobless workers received benefits, below the national average of 37%. So naturally the thing to do would be to weaken Florida’s unemployment insurance system, which is just what Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature have done.
Monday, Scott signed a bill cutting the number of weeks unemployed people receive benefits, tying it to the unemployment rate, and making it more difficult to qualify for benefits in the first place.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the number of available state benefit weeks is reduced from 26 to 23 and the number of available state benefit weeks is tied to the unemployment rate on a sliding scale. If unemployment rate is 5 percent or lower, for example, the number of available weeks is 12. If the unemployment rate is 10.5 percent or higher, the number of available weeks is 23.
Basically, this is about cutting taxes for employers:
Republicans in both Houses argued the bill was critical to protecting Florida’s business climate. The measure also supports Scott’s budget plan to reduce unemployment taxes for employers by $630.8 million.
That’s just one of several corporate tax cuts Scott and Republicans in the legislature have pushed. No word on who’s supposed to patronize Florida businesses given the state’s 10.6% unemployment rate coupled with tightening unemployment insurance.
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