Republican House lawmakers offer Louisiana residents up to $ 1,000 in unemployment to return to work
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Republican House lawmakers have started pushing forward a proposal to offer unemployed Louisiana residents up to $ 1,000 to return to work.
But workers would have to give up their right to claim unemployment benefits for six months.
GOP lawmakers on the House Labor Committee added the language of Representative Mike Echols in a separate measure that sought to modestly increase the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Louisiana.
“We were just looking for one more tool that could entice someone a bit more to go out and apply for a job today instead of waiting a few more weeks,” Echols said. “We know that businesses and jobs number in the hundreds and thousands. We just need to get people back to work as quickly as possible. “
There are those who agree.
“I think it’s fair. I think this is something new and we have to be prepared to try new things, ”said resident Nadair Banks.
There are also those who do not see the point of the potential incentive.
“I think paying them to come back to work… I’m not sure you should give them more money when you should cut off what you give them,” Dick Wilding said.
The vote to add the incentive was 6-5. Republicans supported the measure and Democrats opposed it.
Republicans say federal unemployment benefits discourage people from looking for work. Democrats oppose people giving up their unemployment rights.
Echols said it was completely optional and that the money was just an added bonus and something different from what other states are attempting.
“If you look at other states, 11 or 12 other states are cutting federal benefits to try to motivate people. It’s a negative incentive, ”Echols said.
The payments would be funded by federal coronavirus assistance.
Echols said unless something is found, the economy will continue to suffer.
“We’re already losing jobs right now in Texas, we’re losing jobs even in Mississippi, and of course Florida and the states that are aggressive around business,” Echols said. “It creates a market imbalance, and when you have that kind of imbalance, it can destroy jobs.”
The bill is still awaiting a decision by the House.
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