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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sentiment for Gov. Snyder's policies falls, as state jobless benefits are cut 26 to 20 weeks in 2012

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Governor Rick Snyder (R) said told the Detroit Free Press on March 29th that the reasoning behind signing legislation that extend current unemployment benefits while cutting claimants starting in 2012 from 26 to 20 weeks, is because “we have people suffering today,” and that the long-term answer is more jobs rather than more unemployment benefits.

Snyder made his comments during a presentation before the Michigan Association of Counties.

“We’re still suffering in this state. I wanted to make sure we could do whatever to help these people to continue on a path until they can find a job, Snyder noted. “Next year, my main issue is, let’s start the job creation process. Let’s focus on bringing our unemployment rate down so we don’t have people on unemployment that’s going on for 20-26 weeks or 99 weeks”.
But for unemployed in Michigan, the average time to find employment is between 53 to 99 weeks. For approximately 35,000 state-based job seekers, if they are unfortunate enough to exhaust the Federal Extensions called Extended Benefits (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), many find an employment market that are unwilling to hire them on-board.

Many employers have claimed and evidence supports that a longer an individual is out of the job market, their chances of obtaining employment great decreases.
“It's pretty tragic out there for a lot of people,” says Mike Thornton, a writer and activist who runs a Web site dedicated to providing information and resources for the jobless called the LayoffList. “The long-term unemployed are discriminated against for being long-term unemployed.” Thornton stated to AlterNet reporter Joshua Howard.
Employers are hesitant to hire those who have been out of work for a lengthy period of time believing issues exist with the individual that caused them not to be already hired. The reality is that currently there are five unemployed people for each job opening. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), when you include people who are working part-time while looking for a full-time gig, that ratio jumps to eight to one.
“So far in 2011, eleven states have made the same technical change required to continue Extended Benefits without making other changes that will hurt workers," NELP stated in a March 28th press release. 
"A veto by Governor Snyder could have forced the legislature to pass clean legislation fixing the Extended Benefits program, as was passed in other states. The governor’s actions today mean that Michigan will be the only state in the nation paying less than 26 weeks for their maximum duration of benefits.  Michigan has paid 26 weeks of benefits since 1954,” NELP noted.
Governor Snyder, who did not express during his presentation this morning, exactly how he plans on improving the employment prospects for the long-term employed.

Instead, when asked about the prospects for revisiting the 20-week limit later, Snyder said the administration has a full agenda dealing with tax, budget and government reform issues right now. 
"That’s something we can look at later in the year,” Snyder noted.
Snyder’s fiscal budget agenda includes passing what a growing number of Michiganders are calling a ‘Draconian Budget Proposals, include cuts to the very agency which assist state based job seekers with their quest to return back to work. Michigan Works! manages job development centers for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance (UIA) Agency.
"If the house resolution (which includes Snyder's fiscal proposals) goes through the funding for Michigan Works would be eliminated. The Michigan Works system serves more than 3 million customers a year and our question is, where would those people go?Luanne Dunsford, CEO for Michigan Works stated to Yahoo News.
Michigan voters’ public sentiment is quickly falling out of favor with Governor Snyder’s plans and passed laws like the Emergency Financial Manager mandate.  The survey released by Public Policy Polling on March 22nd found half of Michiganders disapprove of Snyder’s job performance, compared to 33% who approve. 

In addition, surveyed respondents stated they would prefer to have elected Snyder’s opponent last fall, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, by a 47%-45% margin but within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. A citizens' recall campaign group, Recall Governor Rick Snyder has formed a Facebook fan group page with 8,400 members and has a separate website.

Based a majority of ‘on-the-street’ opinions of Gov. Snyder cutting unemployment benefits in 2012 to just 20 weeks, making Michigan the first state in the nation to do so; it would appear that Snyder has not helped his sinking approval numbers.
“I do understand the need to balance the budget, but at this point, the economy is such a terrible condition,” stated Keith Steward to the Detroit Free Press during a video interview. “Cutting unemployment benefits by six weeks is going to effect to economy even more and is not really help balance the budget. There are other areas of spending that the government can cut to help balance the budget,” he noted.
Review more of the The Detroit Free Press video street poll on Gov. Snyder's cuts to Michigan's Unemployment Benefits, at this link.

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