Michigan: Now Home to Stingiest Jobless Benefits

Governor Rick Snyder lops six weeks off of benefits
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 11:16 AM CDT
In this March 11, 2009 file photo, job seekers attend a Michigan Works! job fair at the Wayne, Mich., Community Center.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

(Newser) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law yesterday that will chop six weeks off the amount of time state workers can collect unemployment next year—making Michigan the only state in the country to give its workers less than 26 weeks of benefits, the New York Times reports. Republicans quietly slipped the measure into what was sold as a bill to ensure workers received extended benefits from the federal government for up to 99 weeks, which required a change to state law. Snyder trumpeted the signing with a press release headlined, “Snyder Signs Bill to Protect Unemployed.”

Democrats and advocates for the unemployed were shocked, given the state’s lofty unemployment numbers. “It turns the clock back 50 years at a time when unemployment is at historic highs,” said one representative. “I think that Michigan should not be to unemployment insurance what Wisconsin has become to collective bargaining.” But Republicans argued that the measure was necessary to avoid more hikes in unemployment taxes on businesses. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce dubbed the law “a huge win for job providers," and said it could save as much as $300 million a year.

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