Louisiana leaders urge Gov. Edwards to expand state’s unemployment insurance program

A diverse group of community and nonprofit leaders representing hundreds of thousands of Louisiana workers is asking Gov. John Bel Edwards to expand the state’s unemployment insurance program. 
A letter to the governor lists several key steps he needs to take in order to maximize benefits and ensure federal money gets in the hands of as many unemployed Louisianans as possible. 

“The impending recession due to COVID-19 is unavoidable. But what is not inevitable is the financial suffering of thousands of Louisiana families. Using the federal dollars recently made available, Louisiana has an opportunity to increase benefit levels and speed up the administration of those benefits,” said the letter, which is signed by the leaders of 13 regional and statewide organizations.

Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways to lift an economy that’s in a recession. Unfortunately, Louisiana has one of the weakest unemployment insurance systems in the nation. Before the pandemic, the average weekly benefit of $220 was just 23%  of what the average worker earns.

Click here to read a blog by Neva Butkus, policy analyst for Louisiana Budget Project, that explains how unemployment insurance reforms will boost our economy and improve public health. 

They include details about safety-net programs like Medicaid, tax credits for low-income workers and educational scholarships and help promote a better understanding of how safety-net programs affect different communities across our state.
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