Louisiana Becomes First Non-Republican State to Cut Off Pandemic Aid
Democratic governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill that will end the supplemental pandemic benefits, but raise the state's regular unemployment benefits.
Amid the pandemic, thousands of companies orchestrated mass layoffs and job terminations, leaving many with no main source of income other than aid.
Deemed a temporary but beneficial solution, the government rolled out of federal pandemic unemployment benefits in March 2020 that offered jobless Americans an additional $300 per week.
The benefits are slated to expire in September 2021, but some state governors have signed legislature to end benefits in their respective states early as the pandemic begins to wane down and businesses begin to fully reopen.
The latest state to make this decision is Louisiana, which will be the first state with a Democratic governor to do so.
On Wednesday, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill that will end the supplemental pandemic benefits on July 31st while simultaneously agreeing to raise the state’s regular unemployment benefits by $28 beginning in 2022.
"What we know is that when kids go back to school, parents have more of an opportunity to go back to work without having to worry about child care,” Edwards said last week.
Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri ended the additional benefits in their state on June 12, with Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Idaho, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming set to end theirs this week.
Edwards had also noted that he was originally thinking about cutting off the pandemic-related aid in August when state schools would be back in session.
"Enabling businesses to compete with other businesses for talent rather than an enhanced unemployment program will help fill record-breaking openings and get Louisianans back to work," Adam Knapp, CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, said in a statement.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nearly 2.7 million Americans have been employed for a full year, per the April jobs report. The same report found that over 4.2 million people were unemployed for over six months.
Louisiana currently has a 7.3% unemployment rate.
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