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Whitmer vetoes bill that would end extra $300 in federal unemployment aid

Posted at 12:16 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 12:16:56-04

(WSYM) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed a bill that would end the extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits in our state.

The money, which comes from the federal unemployment program, is aimed at helping those who lost their job during the pandemic.

If it wasn't vetoed, the bill would not have taken effect until after the extra unemployment benefits were expected to end, on Sept. 4, and wouldn't have taken effect until next year.

Republicans say the money is helping fuel a worker shortage in our state, as the benefits are set to expire in September.

The federal benefit in Florida and 20 other states have ended early, and there's little evidence that it's actually solving the worker shortage.

Zip Recruiter data shows that job applications in states that stopped the benefits early increased just slightly compared to other states where the benefit is still in place.

"It's not going to be a big silver bullet. But there is evidence that people whose benefits are expiring earlier would like to start working earlier so they say their ideal start date is a little bit sooner," Julia Pollack, a ZipRecruiter Labor Economist, said.

"We have people who apply and we call them and they'll call us back, but then they won't show up for the interview or they won't show up once they've accepted an offer," Shick Esteve VP of HR Jeassica Nelsen added.

Several states including Indiana, Maryland and Texas are facing legal challenges from workers about whether governors have the authority to end federal jobless benefis.

Whitmer said she would be open to ending the extra benefit if lawmakers would boost child care funding and unemployment benefits to be similar in neighboring states.