Louisiana Radio Network
After receiving several letters and complaints from numerous business groups and owners to end the federally enhanced unemployment benefits before they expire in September, Governor John Bel Edwards said he wants to make an informed decision before reacting.
“We have retained the services of an economist, Jim Richardson, who is preparing a study to determine for the state of Louisiana in our particular situation here is that a wise thing to do or not,” said Edwards.
Economist Jim Richardson served on the Revenue Estimating Conference for the state for three decades.
Edwards said as of, yet he does not have the benefit of the study, but he does know that Louisiana is heavily dependent on tourism.
“We know that tourism isn’t back in full swing and so we know that for a large number of these individuals there are no jobs,” said Edwards.
Groups like LABI and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce are calling on state leaders to end the participation of the federally enhanced benefits to encourage people to return to the workforce. Edwards said however the more than $8.2 billion in unemployment payments is having a positive effect on the local economies.
“It’s one of the reasons why the economy is performing as well as it is currently and why the REC was able to recognize so much additional revenue at the most recent REC meeting,” said Edwards.
The Governor said he expects the study to be completed in the next few weeks. He also pointed out that the Federal benefits are set to expire on Labor Day when the majority of students are back in class thus helping those with childcare issues to be able to return to the workforce.