Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is getting the blame for an overwhelmed Florida unemployed system hit hard by claims from those out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Politico reported Friday that Republicans say the $77.9 million web-based system that is failing state workers is doing what Scott, the former governor, designed it to do – decrease Florida’s reported jobless claims after the great recession.
“It’s a s*** sandwich, and it was designed that way by Scott,” said one adviser to Gov. Ron DeSantis. “It wasn’t about saving money. It was about making it harder for people to get benefits or keep benefits so that the unemployment numbers were low to give the governor something to brag about.”
And Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters tweeted Thursday: “$77 million? Someone should go to jail over that.”
Now, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson, the man in charge of the besieged unemployment website, said the department is reverting to paper applications for those seeking relief, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“From my heart, I apologize for what you’re going through,” Lawson said.
The Times said 227,000 in Florida applied for unemployment last week. But the newspaper noted that figure likely is a vast undercount because of how few were able to apply through the website.
Scott’s spokesman said: “His goal was to make sure every Floridian who wanted a job could get one, and turned the program into a re-employment system so people could find employment.”
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