BATON ROUGE (AP) – Louisiana business organizations on Wednesday called on Governor John Bel Edwards to work with Republican-led states to cut the additional $ 300 in unemployment benefits as it counteracts efforts by employers to reinstate workers. harms.
According to his office, the democratic governor does not intend to end the weekly federal aid.
Ten leading corporate groups in the state, representing contractors, home builders, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, retailers, and more, sent Edwards a letter trying to influence him.
“We believe this added benefit was an important short-term solution to helping people who were adversely affected at the start of the pandemic,” the groups wrote. “However, 13 months later, it is next to impossible for many employers to fully staff their business, which affects the supply chain and the on-time delivery of goods and services.”
Edwards spokeswoman Christina Stephens said the governor intends to keep state aid going even though many of Louisiana’s neighboring states have opted out of the service. But in August he re-introduced the requirements that people who receive unemployment benefits can prove that they are looking for work.
The additional $ 300 per week of federal aid available through September is on top of state unemployment benefits, which in Louisiana are no higher than $ 247 per week.
While corporate groups believe the federal extra unemployment benefits are preventing some people from taking work, government surveys also show that people are reluctant to look for work because they fear getting COVID-19. Additionally, other groups say that many women have dropped out of the workforce to look after children, and some people are looking for higher paying jobs with benefits.
The left-wing Economic Policy Institute recently argued in a comment that policy makers shouldn’t cut unemployment benefits.
“The cut in pandemic (unemployment) benefits, as some states have done or are considering, will not only hurt workers who rely on federal benefits while they cannot find or work work, but will also harm the economy in Take pity The benefits support spending, ”said the organization in the post.
The corporate groups that wrote to Edwards – including the powerful Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the National Federation of Independent Business – point to 17 other states that they said they turned down additional federal unemployment benefits. These include many southern states such as Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, the organizations wrote.
“Just a few months ago, companies were scaling back, working hours reduced and services curtailed due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Dawn Starns McVea, director of the NFIB in Louisiana, said in a statement. “Now they’re doing it because they can’t find enough people to work.”
Republican lawmakers have proposed granting Louisiana residents who receive unemployment a lump sum of $ 500 or $ 1,000 to get back to work, but only if they give up their right to unemployment benefits for six months. This proposal, which was rejected by the Democrats, is awaiting debate on the floor of the house.