In a move that will prove short-sighted, the Georgia Legislature is on the verge of slashing already low unemployment insurance benefits.
Conservative lawmakers have a Pollyanna notion that Georgians will immediately get back to work once the government checks stop. This might be true if there were plenty of jobs available. But Georgia is dead last in job growth.
People aren’t working because businesses aren’t hiring.
Look at the chart on the left and you will see that Georgia is starving for jobs.
The immediate impact of Senate Bill 447 would be a sharp increase in the number of Georgians living in poverty.
The bill would cut unemployment insurance in two ways:
- The state would impose a waiting week which eliminates one week benefits for half of all recipients; and
- Reduce the number of weeks a person could receive unemployment insurance benefits.
If passed, the maximum length of unemployment benefits would change to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks from 26 weeks.
This would be less than any other state in the country. This is terrible for the families who will now lose their safety net. It’s also terrible for Georgia’s economic growth.
As the unemployed spend their relatively meager unemployment benefits, that money ripples through the economy, supporting other workers and businesses. Taking that demand away will lead to drops in consumer spending.
It’s shame that our lawmakers don’t know that the most of Georgia’s 500,000 unemployed adults aren’t sitting at home collecting government checks by choice.
Call your elected representatives and tell them that those who are unemployed in Georgia want to work. They can’t afford to lose their safety net.