Republican leaders in the Wisconsin legislature have drafted a bill to end $300 in weekly federal payments, to people who aren’t working.
State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) said he’s spoken with a number of employers in his district, including one who told him ” we’re no longer competing with other employers, we’re no longer competing with Illinois, we’re no longer competing with Iowa. We’re competing with the couch.'”
“When you pay people more to stay home, they stay home,” Marklein said during a Tuesday press conference at the Capitol.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said, when combined with state UI benefits, the pandemic-related federal payment disincentivizes work.
“On unemployment today, you are making 16 dollars and 75 cents an hour, and not required to look for work. Well, if you can go and work at 14 dollars an hour, how many people are going to make that choice,” Vos said. “People might make the financial decision to stay home, where the government is paying them to sit on their couch, more than somebody would pay them to actually do work.”
Vos said the bill encourages unemployed individuals to return to work amid a statewide worker shortage. It ends Wisconsin’s participation in federal unemployment enhancement programs that provide disincentives to return to work.
I announced a bill with @SenMarklein that encourages unemployed individuals to return to work amid a statewide worker shortage. It ends Wisconsin’s participation in federal unemployment enhancement programs that provide disincentives to return to work.https://t.co/uwhcIaL82T
— Speaker Robin Vos (@SpeakerVos) May 18, 2021
He hopes to have a hearing on the bill next week, and a vote by the full Assembly by next month. A statement from Governor Tony Evers’ office indicates the bill would face a likely veto.
“If Republicans are interested in putting this pandemic behind us, they’ll stop playing politics with our economic recovery and pass the governor’s Badger Bounceback agenda so we can invest in making healthcare more affordable, supporting our kids and our public schools, and building infrastructure and creating jobs across our state,” said Evers’ spokesperson Britt Cudaback.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in March was 3.8%, although considerably higher in some communities.
Republican governors of more than a dozen states have announced that they will soon cease paying their state’s unemployed residents the federal jobless supplement, curtailing benefits for about 2 million Americans.