Idaho Dispatch

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Lawmakers and Citizens React to Little Ending “Federal Pandemic Unemployment” Programs

By • May 12, 2021

Earlier this week, Governor Brad Little ended Idaho’s participation in three federal unemployment assistance programs.

Part of the concern from some business owners was that the continued unemployment money was more than some people would make working. Their opinion was that the assistance discouraged people from looking for work.

Opponents of ending the program say that with the low wages some employers are offering, they discourage people from returning to work. They also argue that inflation is rising, and it may be necessary for someone to stay on unemployment to pay the bills.

Some of Idaho’s lawmakers and citizens reacted to Little’s decision to end Idaho’s participation in the programs.

First, Little posted the following tweet regarding his decision:

Not everyone was pleased with Little’s statement. Several Democrat lawmakers spoke against his decision.

House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) posted the following reply on her Twitter account:

Additionally, Sen. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) posted the following reply to Little:

On the Republican side of the aisle, Little received public support from several lawmakers. Some praised Little for ending the programs, while others said the programs should have been ended a lot earlier.

Rep. Linda Wright Hartgen (R-Twin Falls) posted the following tweet thanking Little for ending the program:

Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) told Idaho Dispatch the following about Little’s decision:

It was the right call. The premium was intended as a short-term shutdown-related benefit, not a permanent source of income. Next week Caldwell will host a job fair where employers are trying to fill 2,200 positions.  There is zero reason to continue.

However, Sen. Christy Zito (R-Hammett) said Little should have done it earlier and told Idaho Dispatch the following,

I think it was a good thing for him to do. I believe he should have done it some time ago. Once again, he is playing the legislature and bowing to media pressure. It is time for people to go back to work. Remove the mandates and get the government out of the way. Get rid of the incentives for people to stay home. Our economy may be growing but a large concern is that so many businesses can’t find people willing to work and that could undo everything we have accomplished so far.

Several citizens on Twitter and Facebook.

On Twitter, most of the comments appear to disagree with Little’s decision. Many of them saying the benefits were not very large and that Idaho needed to increase its minimum wage.

Here is a screenshot of some of the comments that both agree and disagree with Little’s decision:

On Facebook, many commenters expressed similar sentiments.

Some citizens felt that the wages in Idaho were too low, so it would not be fair to cut off their unemployment. Other citizens felt it took too long for Little to respond and that the benefits should have been ended months ago. Many others thanked him for the decision but didn’t elaborate further.

What do you think of Little’s decision to end Idaho’s participation in the federal unemployment assistance programs implemented last year?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Tags: Brad Little, Christy Zito, Ilana Rubel, Linda Wright Hartgen, Melissa Wintrow, Unemployment

8 thoughts on “Lawmakers and Citizens React to Little Ending “Federal Pandemic Unemployment” Programs

  1. Well past due. Now put Mayor McLean in her place and end the mask mandate nonsense. Then tell people the truth about Covid. If you think a “living wage” is a good idea, go take an economics class.

  2. Why work for low wages and be required to wear a mask all day knowing masks do nothing but reduce your oxygen intake. The governor needs to prohibit businesses from requiring masks for employees. Address the disparity between average wages and the rising costs of housing. The legislature can’t even get the grocery tax repealed when it is an unconstitutional and unnecessary tax on essential items.

  3. Yes, wages are low, compared to some states. Cost of living is also lower than these states for the most part. Other than the investors from out of state contributing to the housing crisis. There are entry level jobs out there where people can make a living (cut out the $200 a month phone bill on a $1,000 dollar phone, unlimited high speed internet at a high premium, all the special add-ons on your basic cable, etc.). People don’t know how to budget anymore.

  4. Who can afford to accept a job for $7.50, $9.00, or even $17.00 per hour NOW, that my property taxes have inflated with appraised value of my home purchase of $189,00 now being taxed at $489,000‽

    That Covid Relief is my money I paid in taxes last year. I want it back. I don’t want it being used in Iran and Afghanistan.

    The inflation of food is up 30% in two months and Fuel is up 40% since Bye-Done took office. Can’t afford to get to work.

    We need that federal government covid relief money to make ends meet. On top of going back to work. It’s only $300. Keep it in place Governor Little until September please. The federal government used OUR taxes to spread our money back to us until September and You won’t give it back to us. Give us our money.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree that Idaho needs to get back to work, stop the mask nonsense, and open everything back up 100%. The shutdown in Idaho should never have happened the way it did (based on the science). RINO Little caved to the liberals and pseudo-science crowd.

    BUT there is no doubt some jobs in Idaho are now gone forever, and because Idaho does not have the jobs market like other more populous states (such as Florida, or Texas), there are some people – particularly the older displaced workers – who have zero chance of comparable gainful employment at this stage. What are these people supposed to do?

    For example, how will someone in their early 60s who was planning to work until their full retirement age in a technical, skilled job, find a comparable job, with comparable income, to the good job they lost in 2020, a job that they had worked at for decades and were planning to retire from? What options do such folks have NOW? The answer is “None”, except to tap into any savings, use 401K money early, or apply for early Social Security.

    None of these options are ideal if your retirement planning was based on working until full retirement age. For these people, I think there needs to be some kind of plan in place to help them get retrained, or help them financially get thru’ a longer period of support until they can take full social security.

  6. Should have been stopped long ago. We should not have a grocery tax. Mandatory masks should be banned everywhere in Idaho! Crack down on welfare abuse. Abolish common core. STOP having every grade level in every school teaching the “cookie cutter” curriculum! Elect a good Boise mayor and elect a conservative governor who will stand up to democrat socialist agenda!

  7. The Dems/Left have misconstrued the entire argument about wages into a Marxist pablum. They don’t ever want to return to the “bad old days” when one parent stayed home, raising the kids. That parent was the mom…which drives them crazy these days. And even the concept of motherhood drives them crazy. The “nuclear family” must be ended, according to their latest mantras.

    I grew up in a time when one parent earned enough for all in the family. Inflation was far more in check than it was post 1970. Now, it’s all about “easy credit” and Modern Monetary Theory that just says to print more money. Tax…Spend….Print….Repeat. This is why there are no “living wages” that they demand. The answer is not arbitrary incomes….it is the purging of corruption and deception from the economy. They don’t teach that in school….just how to identify your personal pronouns.

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