Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tonight's hearing wrap-up on the Gov's proposal to boost unemployment benefits

In response to the tough economic times and the steady stream of layoffs we've witnessed around the state and country, the Governor and state legislators are taking quick action to boost the weekly benefits for all unemployed workers.

The House Commerce and Labor committee just completed a hearing on the governor's proposal, HB 1906, which would boost all unemployment benefits by $45 per week. Minority party members are concerned that we're sending mixed messages to the public by asking them previously to save, and now asking them to spend. But supporters of the legislation representing laid-off workers suggest there's no faster way to "mainline" money into our economy and foster the job-creating multiplier effect, than with increased benefits to the unemployed. Unlike other bailouts that have relied on a trickle-down effect, this will put money directly into the pockets of those who've suffered a job loss, helping keep them and the businesses that rely on them, from further erosion.

The Chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, Steve Conway, acknowledges the tough questions that face us, and no easy answers as we tread this unchartered territory. From his weekly dispatch to constituents in which he touches on the economic situation:
There are critical questions to answer: Do we rescue businesses with cash infusions, or will it take a federal make-work approach to keep people employed? And how do we keep our state’s safety net in place given the dramatic fall in state revenues?
Conway goes on to explain a little bit about his support for the legislation, stating, "Its purpose is simply incentive: More money in the economy, less tax burden, for employers so they can keep their employees working."

You can read more from Rep. Conway here.