Guv’s agency contradicts bossby Dara Kam | March 26th, 2009
Gov. Charlie Crist earlier today urged lawmakers to consider expanding the types of workers eligible for unemployment compensation so the state can draw down $444 million in federal stimulus aid to pay for the benefits.
He said that House Republican concerns that taking the money would hike businesses’ taxes long after the stimulus money dries up could be resolved by passing a bill that agrees to undo the expanded benefits after a certain length of time.
But within hours, staff at the Agency for Workforce Innovation, which handles unemployment claims, released requested information cautioning against taking the money.
“The Agency for Workforce Innovation anticipates the agreement entered into by the State of Florida (Governor) will include requirements for maintaining these provisions,” an e-mail sent by the agency reads.
“An additional consideration is that if the state were to reverse the statutory changes when the Federal Funds are exhausted, the Legislature would essentially be disenrolling persons receiving benefits under the new expanded base,” the e-mail goes on.
House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who’s balked against taking the money, is frustrated about the confusion.
“Despite claims to the contrary there are still more questions than answers regarding the federal stimulus money. One thing is for sure. The federal dollars are not the silver bullet and could potentially lead to long-term negative consequences if we try to use them to fix a short-term problem,” the Delray Beach Republican said.