Give the unemployed $ 1,000 if they find work

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LANSING, Michigan (AP) – Unemployed people who find jobs would get $ 1,000 as part of the $ 12.7 billion in proposed relief spending for COVID-19 that began to advance in the Legislature on Wednesday. State.

Aid “back to work” would cover up to 400,000 inhabitants, including almost half of the 839,000 receiving unemployment benefits.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce said the incentive would help businesses find desperately needed workers who, due to additional federal assistance, can get $ 662 per week of unemployment – the equivalent of more than $ 34,000 per year.

“The federal government has created a situation where it is in someone’s financial best interests to remain unemployed rather than take their next job. And that’s unfortunate, ”said Wendy Block, vice president of corporate advocacy and member engagement.

The provision is included in supplemental budget bills that the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee approved on Wednesday along party lines or primed for committee adoption on Thursday, but is far from enacted because it There is no agreement with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. All but $ 1 billion in funding would come from federal coronavirus packages that were approved in March and December.

Republican Representative Thomas Albert de Lowell, who chairs the panel, said that if the payments of $ 1,000 encouraged even 10% to 20% of the unemployed to return to the workforce, “that would be a significant difference in the state. “.

Also on Wednesday, the GOP-controlled Senate Budget Committee advanced $ 4.4 billion in aid, including all of the state’s remaining federal funds from the December package. Funding has been in limbo amid the Republicans’ lack of negotiations with the governor and their attempts to limit his pandemic powers.

Much of the federal money is non-discretionary and, once approved, must go to K-12 schools, local governments, daycares, food and rental assistance, coronavirus testing, and vaccine distribution. . But the state has leeway with billions of dollars.

According to the House proposal, the state would pay nearly $ 600 million for a resolution of the water crisis in Flint instead of borrowing the money up front and paying $ 1 billion over 30 years .

About $ 2 billion in risk premiums for frontline state employees, additional funding for child care, and spending on road debt were tied to a bill that would limit Whitmer’s power to transfer money within departments, which it did during a budget deadlock in 2019. A provision seeks to overturn the state’s recent health department requirement that daycares and camps make a “good faith” effort to have children ages 2-4 wear masks.

The plan also includes $ 25 million to encourage state employees to quit their jobs for up to six weeks’ pay.

Democrats opposed a provision that would require some school districts and charter schools to offer at least 20 hours of in-person instruction per week by May 10 to receive the full per-student funding increase. A similar requirement was included in a previous fundraising bill that Whitmer signed last month.

Representative Regina Weiss of Oak Park said districts could lose funds in the event of a coronavirus outbreak, adding that some offer face-to-face learning but less than 20 hours per week due to parents’ preference for hybrid education.

“Since we don’t know the future of this pandemic, wouldn’t it make sense to give districts the most flexibility with these dollars? she said.

Under federal law, districts are expected to receive a lower share of $ 3.3 billion in aid than districts with a higher number or proportion of poor students. Republicans want to allocate $ 362 million in state money to ensure that hundreds of districts still receive at least $ 1,093 more per student, as long as they donate the 20 hours per week on May 10.

“In-person training is not a requirement,” Albert said.

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