I was shocked to learn that Alabama is one of only six states that has failed to update any part of its unemployment program to qualify for extra jobless benefits through the federal stimulus program. The National Employment Law Project reported that Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota are the only states that have not modernized at least part of their programs.
That failure has cost the state an additional $100.5 million in extended benefits for jobless Alabamians. Republicans in the Alabama Senate killed bills in 2009 and 2010 that would have allowed the state to receive an extra $100.5 million in stimulus money for jobless benefits. The legislation would have authorized Gov. Bob Riley to extend jobless benefits 26 weeks while providing payments to part-time workers, those who are forced to leave work for personal reasons, such as victims of spousal abuse and those in job training programs. The unemployment rate in Alabama was 9% when the legislation failed in 2009. In July, it was 10.3%. Nearly 25,000 additional jobless Alabamians would have been assisted had the state accepted the stimulus money.
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