BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A coalition of 10 Louisiana business organizations on Tuesday sent a letter asking Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to cutoff the additional $300 the federal government is sending to supplement the state’s $257-per-week unemployment supplied by the state.
The organizations come from associations that include commercial and home building contractors, business and industry, health, retailers, restauranteurs, trucking, oil and convenience stores along with the National Federation of Independent Business.
The letter states although the additional federal benefits were “an important short-term solution” to help people adversely affected at the beginning of the pandemic, now that things are opening back up, employers are having difficulty staffing their businesses.
Now, the letter says, the money provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 added to the state’s benefit provides more money to unemployed workers than was available before the pandemic, which contributes to businesses’ inability to find workers.
The letter also notes that the state’s unemployment rate is higher than it was before the pandemic, though now there are thousands of vacant jobs throughout the state.
“Business owners are turning potential customers away at the door because they struggle staffing their companies: companies which are now able to return to full capacity but for lack of employees,” the letter states.
The letter points out that 17 states—including Southern neighbors in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina—have already announce they have opted out of the additional funding, and two of those states – Montana and Arizona – are offering one-time return to work bonuses.