Jun 25, 2009

Senate Republicans vote against Michigan workers

LANSING – Senate Republicans again voted against workers Wednesday, and left $140 million in federal funds that would have gone directly to Michigan workers who cannot feed their families on the table.

Senate Democrats tried to discharge House Bills 4785 and 4786 from the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee to the floor on Wednesday, but it was blocked along party lines. The bills, approved by the House on May 6, would provide unemployment benefits to individuals who are only available for and seeking part-time work and those in an approved job training program who have exhausted their regular benefits. It will pump $140 million in federal funds into Michigan which is suffering with double-digit unemployment, and Michigan cannot afford to give up that money for people who can only find part-time work and people who lost a job and are trying to learn new skills.

Senate Minority Leader Mike Prusi, D-Ishpeming, said Michigan unemployment is the worst it has been since 1983, and in 1983 he was one of those unemployed. He said he had to leave two small children behind in Michigan as an unemployed miner and find work in Colorado. He said he doesn’t want any more Michigan residents and families to have to go through that and leave the state.

“The only thing that helped keep my family together was the fact that I had extended unemployment benefits,” he said “There were 3,500 iron ore miners laid off, and you could not find a job in the Upper Peninsula to save your soul.”

Today’s ore miners are auto workers, and the need to diversify Michigan’s economy is paramount. The economic climate has also produced thousands of workers who are technically part-time because they work less than 40 hours a week, and employers also do not have to supply benefits like sick days and health benefits. If that type of worker lost their job, they would not be eligible for unemployment benefits under the current plan. In fact, part-time workers currently make up one-sixth of the nation’s workforce.

“These bills have sat long enough,” Prusi said. “Thousands of people are going without unemployment benefits because we refuse to act in this chamber, and I think now is the time to act before we break for the summer; before we let these families go without the unemployment benefits that supports them and supports their children.”

Opponents – primarily Republicans and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce - claim that once the stimulus money is gone in four years the employers will have to pay more in taxes to pay for the unemployment benefits. But most states, all with lower unemployment rates, have taken the money.


Not Anonymous said...

Once again, scare tactics from the liberals. This was a smart thing to do. If that was extended, the state would be forced to continue it and use money that we do not have. If you raise taxes on employers what will they do?

They will lay off employees, extending unemployment beyond what it is already in for.

Corporations don't pay taxes. Employers don't pay taxes. They get their tax money by raising their prices, lowering pay or lowering work force or decreasing benefits so that they can stay in business.

To extend this would only guarantee the mass exodus from Michigan would not only continue to continue.

The buckets run dry. Tax revenues are down because less are working and those working are making less than they were.

Businesses are struggling to survive, paying less in taxes because they aren't producing as much. Not due to any fault of their own but due to the policies of the state and federal governments. Second highest taxes on business in the world. Michigan is no longer business friendly due to the taxes required to do business in this state.

The purse has run dry. There's no more to squeeze from the taxpayers.

Communications guru said...

I must be missing the scare tactics. How is it smart to tell people, we know your job left and is never coming back, but we won’t pay you unemployment while they train for a new career? Or, we know the only jobs available are part-time, and if you lose the job where you working 39 hours a week, too bad; you get nothing.

The fact that corporations and employers don't pay taxes will surprise a lot of people, but if that’s the case then would have a problem pay more taxes.

I don’t see how allowing people to survive by making them eligible for unemployment insurance is going to break state businesses. About this alleged mass exodus of companies if we allow unemployed workers to survive, where are they going to go? Only a few misguided states have turned the money down. States like Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alaska.

I have no idea where you got this “second highest taxes on business in the world” crap. You can’t mean Michigan because it simply is not a high tax state. If you mean the U.S. then how is that possible that we have more taxes than “socialist” European countries that have universal health care?