ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP/WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said he doesn’t favor raising Florida’s unemployment benefits, which are some of the nation’s lowest, but is focused instead on getting people back to work.
At an event Friday in Lakeland, the Republican governor also urged people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and said employers need workers to get back to a semblance of normalcy.
“Increase benefits? Look, no, I think we are getting people back to work,” DeSantis said. “You see and hear these stories about businesses need more, our goal is to get people back to work.”
The governor’s comments come as the state Senate is moving a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jason Brodeur to increase maximum benefits from $275 a week to $375 a week and boost the benefit duration from 12 weeks to 14 weeks.
The bill was unanimously approved Thursday by the 20-member Senate Appropriations Committee and sent to the Senate floor for consideration. It could be heard as soon as Wednesday.
The state’s unemployment system has also been beset by problems, such as people unable to access it when thousands tried as the coronavirus caused massive layoffs and job loss with even Gov. DeSantis in the past calling the current system a “jalopy” and directed that it be fixed.