The Iowa House has given final legislative approval to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits to laid-off workers who are training for a new job.
Representative Wayne Ford, a Democrat from Des Moines, says at no time in his 57 years on the planet has he seen the economy this bad. "This economy’s falling apart," Ford says. "That’s why we need this."
Ford says he’s "scared" by the distress the economy is causing for individuals, and worried about the decline in state tax revenues. "If people ain’t working, they ain’t payin’ no taxes," Ford said. "Stevie Wonder can see that."
The federal economic stimulus plan will forward $71 million to Iowa to give unemployed Iowa workers another 26 weeks of jobless benefits. Representative Lance Horbach, a Republican from Tama, says that’s a good idea, but he worries Iowa businesses will find their taxes going up to continue financing these extended benefits for unemployed workers who’re training for a new job when the federal money runs out in two years. "All I’m saying it’s a great bill, (but) it is absolutely a disaster when it comes to funding," Horbach says.
Horbach voted for the bill, as did all but 13 of the 100 members of the House. The legislation now goes to Governor Culver, who is expected to sign the bill into law.