Under President Donald Trump’s plan to extend unemployment benefits, states are on the hook to cover 25% of the cost.
But many governors say they can’t afford to pitch in money as they are already facing budget deficits imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to NBC News.
"The concept of saying to states, 'you pay 25% of the unemployment insurance' is just laughable," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday. "The whole issue here was getting states funding, state and local funding. You can't now say to states who have no funding, and you have to pay 25% of the unemployment insurance cost."
Maine Gov. Janet Mills said Trump’s plan is not the budget relief that states need.
"Asking states now to take on additional expenses is unresponsive to these needs and threatens important programs and services," she said.
Under Trump’s executive order, the jobless would receive $400 per week. States would have to pay for 25% of the cost.
But under another option put forward by the Department of Labor, states are allowed to count existing unemployment benefits as part of their cost share. Then, the federal government would pitch in $300 in expanded benefits, according to NBC News.
Until July 31, Americans out of work were receiving a boost of $600 per week.
Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, issued a statement that said it is “unlikely that Colorado can find the money to keep this up for more than a few weeks."
On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the new plan would cost his state about $700 million per week.
Shelby Kerns, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, told NBC News that "most states will have a difficult time paying a share of the enhanced benefits as state revenues are declining and CARES Act funds are largely allocated to other needs."
A NASBO survey found that states have already allocated about 75% of the funds they received from the federal government under the CARES Act.
"This will force states to choose between commitments to testing, contact tracing, measures to safely reopen schools, economic support programs, other necessary expenditures, and paying enhanced benefits," she said in an email. "At this time state and local governments most need additional federal support to avoid significant cuts to services instead of additional federally-directed expenditures."
While many Democrat governors question whether Trump’s actions are even legal, several GOP governors lauded the president.
"We are very thankful to President Trump for extending these critical benefits," said Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. "We will be working diligently to apply these changes in Arizona, and will have more information early this week."
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