VOTE NO ON HB 317 & SB 171

Corporate interests in Frankfort and their legislative allies never seem to miss an opportunity to undermine what’s left of any support for working families during their most difficult circumstances. The latest examples of this are House Bill 317 and Senate Bill 171, which cut the duration of unemployment benefits for job seekers from 26 weeks to 20, and propose a step-down of benefits, so that by the last five weeks of eligibility, recipients are getting only 50% of their allowable claim.

Anyone who has ever claimed unemployment benefits knows it is not a sufficient substitute for a job. Weekly claims are a fraction of regular wages, and they run out at 26 weeks. It’s a stop-gap for people who find themselves in a bad way. It’s a way to help keep a roof over their heads, have reliable transportation to job interviews, and provide basic groceries for their families while they look for work. And often, it’s still not enough to do even that.

Proponents of these bills would have you believe that they’re an effective cudgel to get people back into a job more quickly. The real effect is that they will force honest Kentucky job seekers to wipe out any savings, drive them into debt and default, and send families spiralling into a cycle of poverty. If that’s what they truly want, they should have the courage to admit it.  These bills are wrong for Kentucky.

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