Going back to work – the road to economic recovery, say lawmakers

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

employment applicationFollowing the lead of a few other Republican-led states, Mississippi is doing away with enhanced unemployment benefits.

It is widely believed that the extra $300 a week on top of unemployment benefits is incentivizing some or many people not to look for work. The money was called for in President Joe Biden's "American Rescue Plan," although COVID relief efforts approved by Congress and President Donald Trump also offered extra money to people unemployed as a result of COVID and the response from government.

"It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled," Governor Tate Reeves (R-Mississippi) said in a post to his Facebook page on Monday. The programs that added enhanced unemployment benefits, he added, "may have been necessary in May of last year but are no longer so in May of this year."

In response, the Mississippi Democratic Party called Reeves' action "absurd, callous, and heartless."

"Mississippi boasts one of the highest poverty rates in the country," said the state Democratic Party in a statement.

According to SuperTalk Mississippi, Tate's announcement followed calls from the Republican speaker of the Mississippi House, Philip Gunn.

"We believe this is the right thing to do," Gunn tells One News Now. "Businesses … are struggling to find employees. You see 'Help Wanted' signs everywhere. People who can work need to work."

Gunn – who wrote Reeves a letter advising him that other states are doing away with the enhanced benefits – said there are people who did lose their jobs and Mississippi is "not trying to take away benefits from anyone who does not and cannot find a job."

"But right now, we have a lot of people choosing not to and they need to be working," Gunn argues. "If you can work, you should work. That's biblical. That's the way our economy works. That is the way that capitalism works."

Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina have announced plans to do away with the enhanced benefits. Governor Kay Ivey (R-Alabama) has stated that she intends to do the same. Mississippi will officially opt out on June 12.

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