LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Legislative Democrats are saying an increase in weekly unemployment checks are long overdue, and they are pushing the Republicans to pass the boost. But as 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick indiciates, the GOP is pushing back.
In the Great Lakes region, Michigan is dead last with the smallest weekly job benefit checks with $362 a month. Illinois is highest with $471 per week.
Michigan has over 300,000 unemployed workers and just last week, 23,000 new claims were filed.
“We haven’t moved the weekly benchmark of the unemployment rate in twenty years,” said State Rep. Donna Lasinki (D-52) “It’s been pegged to make sure that it reflects what it takes to buy a minimum amount of food, and rent and housing coverage for those times for folks in-between employment through no fault of their own.
Governor Whimter has joined the Democrats in this effort.
But Republican Oversight Committee Chair Mat Hall, who has investigated the state unemployment opposes the increase.
He argues fraud in the system is too high, the jobless are waiting too long for their checks.
And an increase in benefits would be a tax hike on businesses that pay for teh checks.
“More benefits would mean higher taxes, and it’s going to pay many fraudulent claims with the money we have and a loss for those who need it and have waited for months to get — through no fault of their own,” said Hall.
Without GOP support, the Democrats will lose this fight.