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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis once again shows what leadership of a State, which includes fiduciary responsibility, and responsibility to its citizens, looks like.
As I reported a few weeks back, over 16 governors—including one Democrat, chose to rescind their COVID-19 unemployment enhancement benefits, in order to encourage people to get back to work. This was met with great hue and cry from the “Living Wage” proponents. I’m still looking for the definition of what a “living wage” is, and how does it differ from a dead one.
Inquiring minds want to know.
DeSantis’ response came a week later, but he allowed the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (their department that handles employment assistance and unemployment benefits) to take the lead on announcing the change.
From a May 24, 2021 local WCTV Tallahassee piece:
DEO Secretary Dane Eagle says Gov. Ron DeSantis’ leadership helped Florida’s economy bounce back from the pandemic.
“Florida’s employers are also seeing employment growth, as more Floridians, including some who completely left the workforce, are now eagerly reentering the workforce,” Eagle says. “Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce.”
Here are the keys: DeSantis empowered a competent Secretary to run this segment of the state government, and; DeSantis paid attention to the engines of his state’s economy and the people who drive it. Emphasis on people.
POLITICO’s announcement that DeSantis dropped the federal UI enhancement was a tad deceptive, written as though DeSantis had made a knee-jerk response, when it was anything but. They also wanted to give voice to the supporters encouraging a permanent underclass, rather than encouraging independence and sweat equity.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration on Monday officially announced it was withdrawing from a federal pandemic assistance program that offered a $300-per-week boost to state unemployment benefits.
The extra benefits have prompted some controversy as Florida’s post-pandemic economy bounces back. Republicans and business groups have argued that companies — especially in the low wage hospitality industry — are struggling to fill openings because the state’s $275-per-week maximum jobless benefits, one of the lowest in the nation, coupled with the $300 weekly in federal benefit offers more money each month than actually working.
Supporters of keeping the federal unemployment benefits boost say it’s needed because Florida has one of the lowest unemployment benefit packages in the country, and some workers are not returning to previous hospitality jobs because of unhappiness over how they were treated by employers during the pandemic.
“Terrible idea that feeds into Florida’s already broken unemployment system,” tweeted state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando). “We will remember this in November 2022.”
As one of the first states to reopen after the pandemic shutdowns, Florida’s economy has shown a robust comeback, and its unemployment has been at the low end of 4.8 percent. If anything, DeSantis’ focus is on further momentum for the economy and businesses, and further opportunity for the citizens of Florida are the driving factors in this success.
THIS is the work of a governor.
And Rep. Anna Eskamani thinks their system is broken? Maybe she needs to have a conversation with our useless California representatives (looking at all of you). If Florida’s EDD system is broken, then California’s is decimated, and a sad illustration of what leadership is not.
If we criticize Republicans %99 of the time & rightfully so, we must also be impartial & do the same with Dems. For 6+ months, @GavinNewsom has failed to fix EDD resulting in millions being in distress & suffering @CAgovernor @GovPressOffice #GavinNewsom #EDD #unemployment #CA
— vic gerami (@vicgerami) August 11, 2020
Vic Gerami tweeted that back in August of 2020. Sadly, almost a year later, for those wishing to get back to work or seeking jobless benefits, it’s the same old song. Our California governor is the poster child for lack of leadership.
Gavin Newsom did a bait and switch on his full state reopening which was slated for June 15. Newsom decided he will maintain his emergency powers, and the tier system he put in place for the degrees of reopening will remain. Newsom is doing this for many purposes as I wrote this weekend. Top of the list is because he actually thinks he’s a King, and the second in line is so he can hang on to those federal enhanced unemployment benefits.
Despite the partial reopenings within the state, California has one of the highest unemployment rates: 8.3 percent, and the highest number of jobless claims.
Nationwide, 385,000 workers filed initial claims for unemployment during the week ending May 29, a decrease of 20,000 from the 405,000 claims that were filed the prior week, the Labor Department reported. These national numbers were adjusted for seasonal volatility.
“As the nation’s new unemployment claims go down, California’s new claims remain high,” said Michael Bernick, an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris and a former director of the EDD.
The 74,625 jobless claims filed in California last week represent the highest amount since April 24, when workers statewide filed 78,600 unemployment claims.
The latest totals are also 67% higher than what was typical in California prior to the start of the business shutdowns that began in March 2020.
That is, if you can even reach the California Employment Development Department (CA EDD) to file for benefits.
@CA_EDD @GavinNewsom After trying (for my fiancé) for 6 weeks and 15 times yest., got through to EDD only to be put on hold for 3.5 hours and disconnected when the office closed. 1+ years into the pandemic, this is wildly poor service for struggling Californians #unemployment #ca
— Michael Mosser (@michaelmosser) June 3, 2021
According to the CA EDD, as of June 3, California still has a 229,411 in backlogged claims.
This malfeasance has lasted over a year, as well as the barely addressed fraud that happened on the watch of Newsom and his less-than-competent EDD Secretary Julie Su. This is the same Julie Su who being pushed for Biden’s U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor.
Democrats failing up is a regularly occurring hashtag.
This is an egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars.
I’ll be asking leadership in CA – from the top to the bottom – for answers.
— Rep. Michelle Steel (@RepSteel) March 12, 2021
The issues with California citizens not being able to reach the EDD has produced a new industry: Intermediaries who work to reach people at the EDD, when the claimant does not have the time, but does have the money.
California leads the way…because they refuse to fix the EDD.
It’s so tough to contact California’s Employment Development Department about unemployment benefits that a cottage industry has sprung up of intermediaries offering to help desperate jobless people reach the agency — for a fee.
With EDD’s phone lines perpetually jammed, thousands of people are paying $20 to $80 per call to private companies that connect them to EDD by robo-dialing it — which in turn adds to the congestion. At the same time, many non-English speakers are paying intermediaries to fill out their unemployment applications and often pay them again every two weeks for the simple process of recertifying to keep the benefits flowing.
Meanwhile, the agency’s data shows that its call volume is soaring and it’s lagging on answering. For the week that ended on May 15, EDD received 5.12 million calls from 378,146 unique callers — with almost a third of those callers unable to get through.
So, tell me again how horrible Governor Ron DeSantis is? They are even beating California in terms of getting live entertainment back.
I do not understand how you can hold all us people in California hostage, you won’t open our entertainment jobs and won’t give us our money if we are certifying and doing everything on time, you’re sending us into further poverty and all we want is to work again! #EDD #CA #payme
— DJ Trophy Husband (@DJTrophyHusband) May 25, 2021
And they do it all without masks.
Florida just hosted the largest concert since the pandemic began because FLORIDA CHOSE FREEDOM OVER FAUCISM.
USA! 🇺🇸 USA! 🇺🇸 USA! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/0QRS1RazLO
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 7, 2021