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Bill Radke: As early as today, the Senate will take up a bill to extend benefits for more than a million unemployed Americans. It’ll be the fourth — count ’em, fourth — such extension, in which the federal government pays the tab for people
whose state benefits have run out. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports.
Mitchell Hartman: Under the Senate bill, unemployed workers would get up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment checks.
And Congress would pay the $2.5-billion price tag by renewing a tax on employers. It amounts to $14-dollars-a-year per worker, says Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project.
JUDY CONTI: It is not a new tax, and it is quite minimal considering the stimulative effect — all of these unemployment benefits going out to people, who will immediately spend it on the necessities of life.
Employer groups aren’t against more benefits. They just don’t want to pay for them. State chambers of commerce sent a letter to the Senate that says funding the extension with an employer tax will stifle job growth.
Norm Isotalo of Michigan’s unemployment agency says another extension is worth the cost.
NORM ISOTALO: We estimate that about 100,000 jobless workers in the state who have exhausted their benefits will qualify.
And with Michigan’s unemployment rate over 15 percent, those workers aren’t likely to find another source of income anytime soon.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.