Representative Mason Acts to Expedite Unemployment Assistance;
Joint Finance Committee Fast-tracks Bill to Extend Unemployment Compensation
MADISON, WI – Today state Rep. Cory Mason and his colleagues on the Joint Committee on Finance moved to fast track a bill to extend unemployment compensation for Wisconsin residents facing layoffs and a tough job market. Both houses of the Legislature will act on the measure this week.
“I am pleased that we were able to act quickly to help workers access unemployment insurance,” said Mason. “Additional benefits for displaced Wisconsin workers are needed before our state funds are depleted – a scenario that would leave thousands without help in the midst of troubling economic times.”
Assembly Bill 5 suspends Wisconsin Supplement Benefits program and shifts unemployment benefits funding to the federal government. The measure will also enable those in need to access extended federal unemployment benefits from the current 8-week schedule to 20 weeks.
Last December, unemployment in Wisconsin hit a 20-year high, and claims for unemployment assistance have risen faster than at any time in recent history. These harsh economic realities are putting pressure on the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Department of Workforce Development officials estimate this move will save the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund more than $44 million.
“While unemployment benefits are only a temporary solution to this substantial economic problem, it is crucial that those who are unemployed have the support they need in the interim,” Mason said. “I receive several calls each day from constituents facing difficulty accessing their unemployment benefits. I am pleased we are able to help extend their benefits, but I want to be clear: This is only one step in my agenda to create Wisconsin jobs and grow the Wisconsin economy by supporting Racine businesses and helping Racine workers.”