‘This is not Dreamland’: Senate Democrats slam Governor’s unemployment response
The Governor's travels cost the state $2.1 million last fiscal year, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Image via AP.

deSantis
Democrats decry DeSantis ... again.

Democrats teed off on Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ performance in a Tuesday press conference, an event the Governor intended to clarify progress on the unemployment crisis.

The Governor has been embattled on a number of fronts, including ongoing issues with the “reemployment assistance” system and the controversial decision to jettison the employee who ran the state’s COVID-19 dashboard website.

Sen. Janet Cruz wondered if the Governor was “trying to take us to Dreamland … talking about people filling out applications incorrectly as if that’s a serious issue … it’s not.”

“You’re talking about people who can’t put food on the table and they forget their last name? Do not sugarcoat this. This is not dreamland,” Cruz said.

Sen. Lori Berman questioned the Governor’s math in determining a 97% pay rate, noting 600,000 people who asked the state for money were “quote ineligible” and have gotten paid zero.

Berman noted that out of staters, who know nothing about Florida, were handling claims.

“They said there were 1.6 million claims … they’ve paid a million … that’s not 97%,” Berman said, guessing that 60% of claims have been paid.

Sen. Perry Thurston said constituents are “suffering” despite “months and months” of repetitive DeSantis pressers.

Thurston also quibbled with the 97% claim, saying it “defied logic” given the thousands of people “still waiting to be compensated.”

“These are individuals out there waiting for months and months and months,” Thurston said, “with a system that fails them.”

Thurston noted also that Florida is 48th in weekly payouts of 50 states, with “right around 43 states” paying out for longer than Florida’s 12 weeks.

The Governor has lamented in the past, and did so again Tuesday, that the CONNECT website was like a “jalopy in the Daytona 500.”

However, the Governor has been glib about Florida’s low payouts and short terms of eligibility, suggesting that for Democrats, there is a grievance to exploit in 2020 on the state’s joblessness crisis and the state’s failure to resolve it.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


7 comments

  • Harvey

    May 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    I interpreted the 97% as the percentage of all approved applications having been paid at least once.

    There are still many folks who are owed retroactive payments back to late March, when Trump signed the Cares Act legislation.

    • Kris

      May 19, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      I did too, Harvey.
      As of yesterday there were 897,000 claimants paid $2.01 billion. That is an average of $2,241 paid per claimant.
      Since I personally am still owed $4,200 as of today($3,000 in $600 payments alone), it’s obvious that $2,241 is not enough to pay many, if any, claimants the full amount due.
      So he MUST be referring to anyone who’s gotten at least $1 in benefits as “paid”

      • Nathan Biddle

        May 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm

        My guess is that Florida should have paid out about at least $5-$7 BILLION by now. Not sure why the Governor would try to brag about $2 billion.

      • Harvey

        May 19, 2020 at 8:48 pm

        Hi Chris,

        Have you heard definitively that the $600 federal payments will go out a full 4 months (March 29-July 31) or will those stop when the state’s 12 week limit expires for an individual.

        I have also read that state benefits can be extended out an additional 13 weeks, but funded federally. Haven’t a word if that is something the state has to opt in to receive.

        Lastly, I also believe that additional weeks of the state benefit also kick in depending on Florida’s unemployment rate.

  • Frankie M.

    May 20, 2020 at 12:21 am

    Maybe voter suppression isn’t all Ronnie is good at? Tell everyone all is well with unemployment benefits and make them prove you’re either incompetent or lying. Double down by manipulating the covid numbers. Well played Ronnie but eventually that merry go round has to end. I wonder how many scientists are on that epidemiology committee and how many are just bureaucratic mathmagicians hired by Ronnie to control the numbahs?

  • Teresa ollis

    May 20, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Where is the money????? Did Rick Scott abscond it like Medicare? Something is very wrong here. Taxpayers need someone to follow the money. It may sound simple minded but there’s something not right. Where is the money?

  • JOSEPH CATALANO

    May 20, 2020 at 10:35 am

    GOVERNOR DESANTIS IS SUCH A LIAR A CHEAT A CROOK KEEPING ALL THAT FEDERAL MONEY IN A BANK TO COLLECT THE INTEREST, WHILE I CANT FEED MY FAMILY, DESANTIS SHOULD BE ARRESTED AND CONVICTED WHAT HE IS DOING ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT.

Comments are closed.


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