Unemployment Benefits Extension Approved
Nov 21, 2008 -
TAMPA – With today’s news that Florida’s unemployment rate hit 7 percent, U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor welcomes the approval of legislation that extends unemployment benefits.
The House took the lead in passing the legislation, approving it nearly two months ago. The Senate approved it on Thursday.
“With the holidays around the corner and with unemployment rates in the state of Florida rising, this means more money in the pockets of those who need it most,” Castor said. “We’re all in this together.”
The law provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to states with unemployment rates above 6 percent. The benefits go directly to workers who have lost their jobs. These workers are likely to invest at least a portion of the money back into the community.
Florida’s October unemployment rate is the highest since December 1993. In the Tampa Bay area, the unemployment rate reached a staggering 7.4 percent.
Hillsborough County recorded a 7 percent unemployment rate in October – compared with a 4.3 percent unemployment rate in October 2007.
While extending unemployment benefits is a good start, Castor said, that alone isn’t enough to combat the economic crisis.
Castor is pushing for an economic recovery package that would create jobs.
She wants legislation that would give Florida a 4 percent increase in Medicaid funding, because enhanced Medicaid funding is a rapid and effective way to support families and to directly stimulate the economy. She also advocates investing in infrastructure, which would create jobs for people building roads, schools and other projects.
“Doing so would put people to work immediately,” Castor said. “We need to focus on getting people back to work.”