Florida’s business community has praised Gov. Ron DeSantis for eliminating the state’s participation in the supplemental federal unemployment benefits program set up during the pandemic even as Democrats criticized the move, saying it’s wrong to cut off benefits too early.
DeSantis has said the move is needed to get people back to work and to help businesses start hiring again, pointing out that Florida has almost half a million job openings. More than 20 other Republican governors have also bowed out of the program.
Now, union groups are representing several plaintiffs in states like Indiana, Virginia, Maryland and Texas for canceling the supplemental unemployment benefits early.
The lawsuits claim those on unemployment benefits have not been able to go back to work because of health conditions that put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
Florida could soon be facing a similar situation. The Florida AFL-CIO recently announced it has collected more than 7,000 signatures it will send to DeSantis, encouraging him to change his decision to cut off the benefits. The union is also looking at the possibility of moving forward with a lawsuit against the DeSantis administration for cutting off jobless benefits.
Florida’s business community sees things differently as groups ranging from the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Associated Industries of Florida all applauded the governor.
Florida business analyst Dr. Ed Moore, who served as executive director of Restore Economic Strength through Employment and Tourism (RESET) Task Force, said the higher benefits from collecting unemployment is discouraging people from going back to work.
“The economy is coming back strong, we have plenty of jobs in the state,” Moore told Florida Daily. “It’s wise to do away with the jobless benefits.”
How judges rule on the unemployment benefits lawsuits will help determine the matter. In September, Congress will have to decide whether to extend or cancel the supplemental unemployment benefits.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.