Worker Shortage: Is It Time for John Bel to Cut Off Fed Unemployment Money?
State Rep. Raymond Crews talks about legislation that would pay $1,000 "go back to work" bonus to Louisianans currently on unemployment and whether it's time for the state to stop taking the billions in federal jobless money.
Crews has expressed "reluctant support" for the idea, saying he considers it "more of help for our businesses than as a bonus for the unemployed."
"A colleague...proposed this amendment to (the original bill) to increase the benefits. This amendment was proposed as a way to say, "You cannot take this benefit and then go back on unemployment for twenty six weeks. The intention was to...get people working and keep them working and keep them off unemployment."
And Crews agrees that the overly generous federal benefits is causing the current worker shortage and with so many jobs going unfilled, it may be time for the state to stop taking the cash for the jobless.
"That would make sense, but that's really in the governor's hands," Crews says, "But as you know, he's not a big proponent for that action.
"As a matter of fact, yesterday we got a pamphlet on our desk and this is embarrassing. We're now number one...(Louisiana) has more money in our budget coming from federal funding than any other state in the Union. It's 45.1% of the funds in our budget come from the federal government."
The unemployment "bonus" bill goes to the House floor Thursday for a full vote.