Georgia State Employees Could See $5K Pay Raise

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaking

As lawmakers convene in Atlanta on Monday for the start of a new legislative session, Gov. Brian Kemp wants to give state employees $5,000 raises and increase their benefits.

Two budgets are passed through the General Assembly every legislative session. Lawmakers must review and approve spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year, also known as the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) budget, and approve the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Kemp told state agencies in August not to propose spending increases for the next two years as a safeguard against uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Arizonans Fired over COVID Vaccination Might Not Get Unemployment

Arizona’s largest hospital system and others have set a Monday deadline for their employees to be vaccinated or face termination, but some employees who already have been fired for refusing a vaccine are learning they aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. 

Banner Health, ValleyWise Health, HonorHealth and Dignity Health are set to require COVID-19 vaccinations Monday. Others have set deadlines that already have passed.

Mayo Clinic, a Minnesota-based hospital nonprofit with two facilities in the valley, announced in July it would require all employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 17. In a release, it said staff who declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19 “must complete education modules and will be required to wear masks and socially distance when on campus.”

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Report: Democrats’ Stalled Budget Bill Includes $8 Billion a Year for Illegal Immigrant Parents

Democrats’ stalled budget bill includes $8 billion a year for 10 years for illegal immigrant parents, the Center for Immigration Studies announced on Tuesday.

The bill would replace a program that requires parents to work to receive welfare and increase the funds available to illegal immigrant parents because some who work “off the books” can’t verify their employment, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Any illegal immigrant with a child born in the U.S. would be able to apply for aid through the program.

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Commentary: New Study Vindicates States that Canceled Expanded Unemployment Welfare Early

Debate over the welfare state is once again making headlines. On Monday, the expanded unemployment welfare system was finally allowed to expire after more than a year. Originally created as a “short-term” measure authorized for a few months in March 2020 then repeatedly extended, these benefits paid many of the unemployed more than their former jobs, with benefits reaching up to $25/hour in dozens of states.

Dozens of Republican-led states chose to end the benefits early. This week’s termination of enhanced benefits was in the Democrat-run states that maintained the expanded payouts, and with their lapse, the debate over whether these benefits were disincentivizing work was reignited.

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While Pennsylvania Democrats Want to Increase Welfare Payments, Some Experts Urge Focus on Bigger Picture

Democrats in the Pennsylvania General Assembly hope to increase monthly welfare benefits in Pennsylvania, reasoning that payments under the federally funded Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program have stayed flat since the 1990s, falling well behind inflation. 

Legislation being drafted by state Sen. Katie Muth (D-PA-Royersford) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-PA-Philadelphia) would increase Pennsylvania’s TANF benefits, which average $403 per month for a family of three in most counties.

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Gov. Whitmer Secures $10 Million Grant to Expand Employment Opportunities

A male doing electrical work with a ball cap and safety glasses on

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has been awarded a $10 million federal grant to support the state’s registered apprenticeship expansion efforts.

“As we put Michigan back to work, Registered Apprenticeship programs offer on-ramps to high-demand, high-skill careers, and in Michigan we have committed to expanding these educational opportunities to ensure more Michiganders can get good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“Increasing access to education and training opportunities will help us achieve our 60 by 30 goal to have 60% of Michigan’s adult with post-secondary education or skills training by 2030, improve the quality of life and help Michiganders secure good-paying jobs, and ensure businesses have the workforce they need to succeed and grow our economy.” 

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New Tennessee Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low as State Ends Federal Supplemental Benefits Next Week

Help wanted sign

Tennessee had its lowest number of new unemployment claims last week since the impact of COVID-19 began in March 2020.

The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported 4,736 new claims the week ending June 19. It’s the first time that total was less than 5,500 in a week since the week of March 14, 2020.

The previous low during that stretch was 5,789 for the week of Nov. 28, 2020.

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Emergency SNAP Benefits Extended into June for Virginians

Virginians who receive food stamps will continue to be eligible for higher pandemic-era benefits through June, the Virginia Department of Social Services announced.

Families receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see additional benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards. The funds will be added n June 16.

A household of one will be eligible for up to $234 monthly while the emergency funding continues. A family of two could receive up to $430, a family of three up to $616 and a family of four up to $782. The funding gradually increases for every additional member of a family.

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Ohio Restaurants, Bars Struggle to Find Employees

An empty bar

As sales slowly improve, Ohio’s restaurants and bars now face another issue that threatens ongoing COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts: lack of employees.

Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker believes the intentions behind continued federal and state stimulus benefits are good, but a consequence is a lack of available employees as the state eases COVID-19 restrictions and customer traffic increases.

“Unemployment is an issue. There’s no question about it,” Barker said. “The intention by the government, both at the federal and state level, was to take care of people who are displaced and very much in need. It was the right thing to do. The problem we have now is these are looking like they’re going to be extended all the way through the fall. On top of that, people are getting big stimulus checks. And in some cases, they may be making more money staying at home than going back to work. And so, it’s a combination of factors.”

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Some Minnesota Businesses Report Hiring Problems, Citing Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Job fair booth of Atlas Staffing

With more relaxed restrictions and the promise of warmer months ahead, businesses are struggling to find employees to come back to work, even after raising wages and offering flexible hours.

Some blame generous unemployment benefits.

Atlas Staffing Inc has 241 open jobs on their site for locations across Minnesota, but Minneapolis office manager Alison Barge says it’s “next to impossible” to fill positions right now.

It’s not a skills gap, Barge said. Most of the jobs are entry-level positions, and some employers are even offering a $3/hour incentive, boosting pay to $17 an hour, flexible scheduling, part-time availability, but people just “don’t want to work.”

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Georgia Legislature Approves $27B Budget for New Fiscal Year

Blake Tillery

The Georgia General Assembly has approved a $27.2 billion spending plan for the 2022 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The Senate and House agreed to spend more money on health care, education, transportation, state positions, internet access and economic initiatives.

The House approved the measure, 148-21, late Wednesday night after it cleared the Senate unanimously, 52-0. Lawmakers now must send the proposal for state spending through June 30, 2022, to Gov. Brian Kemp for consideration.

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Biden Signs Executive Order to Increase Welfare Dependency for Illegal Aliens

Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that aims to increase illegal aliens’ dependency on welfare programs funded by taxpayer dollars, according to Breitbart.

The order revokes a Trump Administration policy that would ultimately put financial responsibility for such welfare benefits directly on the illegals themselves, or otherwise on the family member or business sponsor seeking green cards for any incoming illegals who had previously used a welfare system. Biden’s revoking of that order ultimately puts the cost for such use of the welfare system back on American citizens who fund such programs with their tax dollars.

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Commentary: The Indispensable American Family

In August 1884, Washington Gladden, possibly the most famous Christian preacher in the America of his day, wrote an article in The Century Magazine on “Three Dangers” besetting the welfare of the nation he loved. Of the first and third dangers he named, intemperance and gambling, I have little to say here. I will note that Dr. Gladden concedes that alcohol may be used well, even for conviviality, though he himself did not drink.

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The Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule for Immigrants Officially Goes Into Effect Following Supreme Court Victories

The Trump administration officially implemented its public charge rule for foreign nationals seeking permanent status, following two key victories in the nation’s highest court.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday put into effect the administration’s new public charge rule, which takes into account a foreign national’s past use of taxpayer-funded benefits when determining whether that individual qualifies for a green card. The rule, which the White House first introduced in 2019, survived a lawsuit that reached all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Jobless Welfare Claims Near a Five-Decade Low

by Tim Pearce   The number of Americans claiming unemployment insurance fell unexpectedly in late September after economists anticipated destruction from Hurricane Florence to hold claim numbers steady. The number of unemployment filings edged back toward the lowest rate in nearly five decades. The four-week moving average fell to the lowest rate since…

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Illegal Immigration Estimated to Cost Tennessee Taxpayers $793 Million in 2017

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), estimates that illegal immigration cost Tennessee taxpayers $793 million dollars in 2017. A recently updated infographic published by FAIR, estimates that 135,000 illegal aliens live in Tennessee that along with approximately 46,000 of their children born in the U.S., brings the total to over 180,000…

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Tennessee to Reinstate Work Requirement for Food Stamps

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced this week that the state will bring back the federal work requirement for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps that was waived in 2008 because of the recession. The requirement, to be reinstated across most of the state starting Feb. 1, will affect adults without dependents…

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