Monday, March 23, 2009

Here We Go Again

Republicans in the California legislature are at it again. After months of obstructing a state budget and bringing the state perilously close to bankruptcy because they refused any tax increases, a few of them finally caved once funding for services such as public transportation and education were cut to the bone. Now they are stalling an Assembly bill which would make it possible to accept funds for extending unemployment benefits from the federal government.

From a Los Angeles Times' editorial:

Imagine the federal government offering California more than $2.5 billion to help its unemployed workers. You'd think that lawmakers would leap at the money, especially with the unemployment rate climbing to 10.5% in February. And yet when the Assembly took up a bill last week to make the state eligible for the aid, resistance from Republicans left the measure one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed for speedy passage. Proponents plan to bring a new version of ABX3 23 to the Assembly today, and lawmakers shouldn't hesitate to pass it.

...To enable its workers to receive an extra 20 weeks of federally funded aid, though, California would have to change the way it measures its unemployment rate. Under state law, the extended benefits would flow only when the rate for workers eligible for benefits -- a category that excludes the self-employed, among other groups -- tops 5%. The state hasn't met that threshold since 1983. By contrast, it would be eligible for the aid today if it considered the overall unemployment rate for three consecutive months, as allowed by federal law. That threshold is 6.5%, which California has exceeded since April 2008.

The alleged reason? The Republicans claim that after federal funds are cut off in 2010, state employers might be stuck with continuing the benefits. Assemblyman Joe Coto (D-San Jose), the sponsor of the bill, felt that the original bill did no such thing, but he is currently working with officials on the language of the bill so that there are no ambiguities with respect to continuing the benefits without the federal aid. I wonder what excuse the Republicans will pull out for the next vote.

Unemployment in California reached over 10% last month. The unemployment insurance fund is almost empty, and the extra money from the government will keep a lot of folks from hunger and homelessness. It's not like the unemployed will bank the dollars. They will purchase necessities, shoring up local businesses, and they will pay sales taxes on some of those necessities. None of that apparently matters to the state's GOP.

It just might matter to voters, however, and 2010 isn't that far away.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go back to being old and tired and quit trying to figure things out. You don't have a clue.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...


Swallow your bolus and expire, dickwhistle...

8:30 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

It just might matter to voters, however, and 2010 isn't that far away.

Labels: Economic Justice, Economy

posted by Diane at 3:36 AM

unfortunately, it is too far away, and the SCUM ar still controlling the narrative...the USer electorate has a collective memory like that of a butterfly in an apple-orchard.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Anon; We know it's spring break. Sorry your mom has to work.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York's Mayor Bloomberg (an Independent) has proposed to do the same thing because it has the effect of undoing both the Clinton and in California the Reagan Welfare Reform

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact, according to the California Unemployment department, which now has Saturday hours (cannot be reached by phone -- they call you to handle unemployment appointments) California's unemployment is nearer THIRTY PERCENT yes 30%.

The lady, who has worked for HRD for two and a half decades, told me that he has never seen the department so busy. She said that the media simply are not telling the truth about the actual unemployment rates, although they have been advised of same.

9:07 AM  

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