Philip D. Brown
Richmond County Daily Journal
In a weekly newsletter, N.C. Rep. Ken Goodman expressed his frustration over political wrangling in Raleigh that has kept tens of thousands of out-of-work North Carolinians from seeing their exhausted unemployment benefits extended.
Wednesday, House Republicans took another shot at tying the extension of benefits to the state budget, when the House Rules Comm-ittee approved a measure to extend the benefits, but only if spending cuts are implemented on July 1 in the event budget proceedings aren’t over by then.
Goodman said an alternative Democrat bill, which doesn’t tie the two issues together, has been prevented from coming to the floor for a vote.
“I continue to work with my colleagues to extend the benefits,” he wrote. “House Democrats held a press conference last week again urging action on a bill after the majority party rejected several attempts to pass legislation that would extend the benefits. I have also signed a petition that would force a bill on the issue - HB 676 - to come to the House floor, but no members of the majority party have joined us, leaving us nine votes short of the number we need for action.”
Despite the setback, Goodman said he continues to support their extension.
“Please know that I am continuing to work on this and hoping that we will get the benefits moving soon to these people who need them,” Goodman wrote.
In April, Perdue vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill which would have extended the benefits, but required her to agree to a 13 percent cut from her recommendations for next year’s state budget.
Wednesday, she indicated she views this bill as more of the same.
“On behalf of the 42,000 unemployed North Carolinians who have been denied benefits, I call on the General Assembly to act and pass a bill that solely addresses these federally funded unemployment benefits,” Perdue said in a statement.
Richmond County has been plagued with double-digit unemployment since the onset of the national recession in 2008. March’s unemployment rate in the county, the most recent, was 12.5 percent, a downturn of 2.2 percent from March 2010.
However, many analysts have noted those who are falling off the unemployment rolls due to the exhaustion of their benefits falsely inflate the number of jobless workers who are getting back into the workforce.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.