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House votes party line on jobless rewrite

by John Kennedy | March 10th, 2011

The House approved overhauling the state’s unemployment compensation system, cutting benefits and reducing tax rates in a strict, party-line vote.

The 81-38 vote in the Republican-dominated House was designed as a first-week-of-the-session message that the GOP is looking to help businesses rebound — possibly at the expense of Florida’s jobless.

The move came even as the state’s Agency for Workforce Innovation reported Thursday that the state’s unemployment rate hit 11.9 percent in January, down slightly from December’s 12 percent level. The state lost 13,000 jobs in January, AWI said.

But Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, said the House bill (HB 7005) will help turnaround what he called a “capsized economy.”

“It sends a resounding message to the business community: Florida is the place to be,” Holder said.

But Democrats, who unanimously opposed the measure, said the measure would hurt out-of-work Floridians.

“I’m pro-business. But I’m also pro-people,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.

The House legislation mirrors a proposal unveiled earlier this year by Gov. Rick Scott. It reduces the duration of state unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks, while maintaining the current maximum payment of $275-a-week.

Like Scott, the House plan also would tie benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. The period a jobless worker could receive a check would fall to a maximum of 12 weeks if unemployment falls to 5 percent or less.

The reduction would only affect Floridians joining the jobless rolls after the legislation becomes law – which the House measure sets for Aug. 1. Federal unemployment payments, which currently extend as long as 99 weeks, would still kick-in when state coverage is exhausted.

Although 1.1 million Floridians are out-of-work, the state’s unemployment system is already among the strictest in the nation. Only about 400,000 currently qualify for benefits because the standard to qualify for benefits excludes many short-term and seasonal workers.

Along with reducing benefits, the measure also adds new authority for employers to challenge a laid-off worker’s claim, while making the jobless undergo a “skills review” and show proof  they are actively seeking work.

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30 Responses to “House votes party line on jobless rewrite”

  1. OBIWAN Says:


    What happened to working four 7 1/2 hour days at the local school??

    The problem with unemployed is getting people out of the house and doing productive things!

    Germany has reduced its real unemployment to 7%, lowest since reunification.

    America’s real unemployment is 20% or higher… we keep changing the definition to lower the rate.

    Why can’t we have a simple ‘any adult that needs a job to sustain themselves’.

    We take those not actively looking off, as well as all those living on those welfare bennies… including the baby daddies visiting their baby factories on “check day”.

    Check day?? That’s when the temp labor firms know over half their labor won’t show up for work!!

  2. once republican Says:

    Extreme measure brings lots of anger and we all know where anger usually ends up. I don’t want to be around when and if the middle class decide to rise.

  3. HM Says:

    “It sends a resounding message to the business community: Florida is the place to be,” Repuvlican Doug Holder said.

    Of course there’s jobless everywhere, and no effort to bring any new ones back from China or Mexico. And now those just getting by on unemployment have no more money, so they will be robbing your stores instead of shopping in them.

    Bring your business to Florida! Get big tax cuts! Buy yourself a Hummer! But dont expect a helluva lot of actual customers.

  4. jaded Says:

    We will soon be the rich people’s oxycontin center of the U.S. Our skilled and educated labor is moving out to find jobs, and we have a supply of immigrants willing to work for low wages and no benefits. Business will thrive for the rich because they will have no taxes and labor they can exploit. Is greed and heartlessness going to prevail? This will not help the middle class. We are a banana republic.

  5. Louie Says:

    Hey…Big Business…
    While you’re getting your tax breaks and all the other perks of being able to corrupt the Legislature and the Gov….
    The rest of us haven’t recieved a pay raise in a few years.
    This Right to Work stuff isn’t helping us at all.
    Everything we buy has gone up in price.
    Car & Auto Ins ? WTH ?
    I could go on about the negatives about this Corporate State that’s on the horizon.
    But I’ll sum it up…
    We don’t have the money anymore to buy your products.
    But…you guys won in Tallahassee.
    Can I call it a hollow victory ?

  6. jaded Says:

    They did win in Tallahassee. The smart people have already left and weren’t here to vote.

  7. Give me a break Says:

    Americans want everything…low taxes, but lots of entitlements…high wages, but cheap goods…lots of gov’t regulation but smaller government.

    The problem here is less about politicians and more about whiney, complainey citizens. Be thankful for what you have…it can always be worse.

  8. J Says:

    Bringing big businesses in will open up more jobs and therefore boost the economy and lower the unemployment here. It may hurt some today but everyone will be better off down the road (or at least those willing to put the effort in to find a job).

  9. robert Says:

    i own a small business in pbc.THIS IS GREAT!! i interview potential employees(yes i have been hiring).i pay $10-$12/hr to start.35-40 hours/week.i always hear “why should i work,when i am getting $275/wk tax free and working under the table?”(cleaning houses,etc).i do not have a good answer!

  10. jaded Says:

    That $275/wk is taxed. You are lying anyway robert. And J, if you believe that, don’t start complaining that illegals are taking your job.

  11. J Says:

    I’m not complaining about anyone taking my job. I’ve changed jobs twice in this economy. Easy, not at all. I worked my butt off to do it. And most the people I know found jobs after making it a full time job sending out resumes, online searches, etc. instead of making excuses.

  12. Truth Seeker Says:

    Robert -
    Just one question would the reduction in unemployment taxes have any impact on your business hiring an employee??

    FL Unemployment is paid the first $7,000 of wages & the rate is 2.7%. Which is $189 a year per employee.

    how many jobs will this bill really create?

  13. jaded Says:

    Didn’t mean it personally J. I just meant that I don’t believe any big business that comes here will be opening up any high quality jobs. By high quality, I mean a living wage for someone responsible and willing to work. Meaning a living wage for someone who even just wants to make ends meet.

  14. jaded Says:

    Who maybe has a mortgage to pay and a family to support.

  15. Shop Steward Says:

    Who hires people and pay taxes ? Last time I checked it was business. You libs need to get your head out of your b-tt. We need jobs, we need business.

  16. jd Says:

    I read the article
    House votes party line on jobless rewrite and I have a question about this part:
    Federal unemployment payments, which currently extend as long as 99 weeks, would still kick-in when state coverage is exhausted.

    My unemployment payments ‘extended’ less than 52 weeks and no federal unemployment payments have ‘kicked-in’. I just got off the phone with an unemployment rep and apparently I’m only being considered because I worked in December. What gives? I’ll have to wait weeks for state funds that will probably be cut -my last contact with unemployment before January was last August, when I was informed my benefits would be cut in half. I haven’t seen anything since.

  17. jd Says:


  18. real american Says:

    I dont think people understand , the legislature is selling snake oil. Right now it may seem like a great idea to eliminate business taxes , but in reality many will use it as a way of putting money to the books immediately . Additionally , there is a certain Fortune 500 business in FTL that has been consolidating/elimanating positions @ a rapid pace for months now, it wont change that either. That business and many others sole purpose is to provide return to their respective share holders , not supplying Florida with jobs. Once this is understood , you begin to get that sinking feeling…………………WE HAVE BEEN HAD……..AGAIN!!!!

  19. Yawn Says:

    Any post or article with the term “Big Business” in it is usually a reference to the “Boogy Man”. If you want to instill fear in the populace, lace your comments with ‘Big Business’ (what’s the cutoff for ‘big’ anyway?), ‘Outsourced jobs’, ‘Tax Breaks for the Rich’.

    Aside from this inflammatory rhetoric, has anyone said anything intelligent in the comments area here?

  20. bs Says:

    Well Gov Scum-when I’m out of work next week and my unemployment runs out, my house is foreclosed on and my car repoed, then I guess I’ll be hitchin’ a ride to your pad.

  21. real american Says:

    Because lets not forget…… they show more profit , the stock goes up. Well lets see here…..HMMMMMMM Who would have alot of disposable income to just throw at the stock market? Oh yeah wealthy people! And , most if not all in state/federal legislature are pretty well off. So , lets see I am a state legislator and I vote to not lower but completely scrap the business tax in my state. On top of that I have alot of money to invest . OH Yeah , and I get the advantage of the extension of the Bush era tax cuts that also PRIMARILY BENEFIT WHO?????????? WEALTHY…… Yeah , well maybe you baggers are right , i should support huge tax cuts for the rich , great idea……….

  22. real american Says:

    @ yawn
    apparently , nobody but you……….douche.

  23. Big Johnson Says:

    Lower the unemployment benefit, the unemployed leave the state, lower the unemployment numbers, lower the unemployment benefits, more unemployed leave the state, lower the unemployment numbers, lower the unemployment benefits…. can’t you see the cost saving cycle?

  24. Still Yawning Says:

    blah, blah, blah, BIG BUSINESS, blah, blah, blah, TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH, blah, blah, blah, OUTSOURCE JOBS, blah, blah, blah, (insert inflammatory phrase here) BUSH, blah, blah, blah

  25. real american Says:

    @still yawning

    Yep , definitely nobody but you……… douche

  26. Done Yawning Says:

    Real Americans have solutions and don’t spout ridiculous, self-indulgent opinions (and feminine hygiene references?). We have enough Rush Limbaugh’s, Bill O’Reilly’s, Rachel Maddow’s, and Keith Olberman’s running around out there. You can be part of the solution or part of the problem.

    Which are U?

  27. Dan M. Says:

    real american? sounds real French to me — words ending in -che. Wait a minute, aren’t they socialists too? Figures…

  28. real american Says:

    Real Americans have solutions and don’t spout ridiculous, self-indulgent opinions

    Really , I have not heard a solution from you yet. Just the ramblings of a slack jawed wind bag. Post facts and have a real discussion not this world according to a coward mentality, and you’ll do yourself a huge favor.

  29. Huuuuge Yawn Says:

    Ok Rush, er “Real American”, not sure how big a favor I’m doing myself by trading insults with you. Perhaps you should get a puppy or better…help someone a little less fortunate than yourself, it may improve your outlook on your miserable life (just hypothesizing, you DO sound miserable).

  30. Yawn Von Yawn Yawn Says:

    If a corporation (cough, cough, Big Business, cough, cough) is a bunch of people getting paychecks to make widgets, and they report to managers who have managers that ultimately report to C-level executives, who are hired by Board Members that are elected by shareholders…shareholders that bought the ownership rights (stock) to make a profit – and these profit seekers were retirees, Joe Schmo 401(K) investors, and(union) pension funds, would it stand to reason to have these succeed? I mean…you know…within reason?

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