Not A Single State Has Said It Will Pay Another $100 Per Week In Unemployment Under Trump’s Plan
With more than 31 million people receiving some sort of unemployment benefit from the government (and more than two weeks since the last CARES Act unemployment checks went out), a new program for enhanced unemployment benefits laid out by President Trump in an executive memorandum over the weekend has put cash-strapped states in a difficult position.
Trump’s program would extend the lapsed $600-per-week payments from the CARES Act to $400 per week, with states contributing $100 of that supplement from their own budgets or from other CARES Act allocations.
It’s not yet clear whether states will be required to do so, or whether they will be allowed to pay out a $300 weekly benefit using federal money alone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, no state has said it plans to pay the extra $100 into the program.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the $44 billion Trump would allocate to the program from a federal disaster relief fund would last about 5 weeks; a Labor Department official told the Wall Street Journal the money would last about six weeks if every state participates.
The official also said that it will likely be several weeks before states can implement the program and begin paying out any benefits.
On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis became the latest state governor to speak out against the plan (joining New York Gov. Andrew Curomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, among others). “That’s not an option for us in Florida, because those CARES Act dollars are obligated already,” DeSantis said, according to the Miami Herald. DeSantis indicated that he’s exploring other ways to increase unemployment benefits in Florida, including taking a loan from the federal government.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken an enormous toll on state finances. In addition to soaring healthcare expenses, states are also dealing with plummeting tax revenues as cash-strapped Americans lose jobs and businesses shut down. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states are already facing budget shortfalls of more than 20% in the current fiscal year. The CBPP suggests that those shortfalls will only worsen as the full extent of the economic crisis becomes more clear.
Here’s Why That $400 Unemployment Check From Trump’s Executive Order May Not Happen (Forbes)
Funding for $300-a-Week Unemployment Benefits Could Run Out in Six Weeks (Wall Street Journal)
Trump Signs Order Extending Unemployment Benefits, But At A Reduced Amount (Forbes)
Mnuchin Says White House Is Willing To Put ‘More Money On The Table’ For Next Stimulus Bill (Forbes)