The Transylvania Times -

Restore Unemployment Insurance


Representative Whitmire’s most recent legislative notes indicate that he is quite pleased with the state of unemployment benefits in North Carolina. I am not. Sadly, in our state, with large numbers of long term unemployed citizens, the pain legislative policies cause is palpable and harms families.

When the long-term unemployed fall off the unemployment rolls, it leaves the impression that we have a healthy economy. In reality, though, too many people are suffering because of the decisions of our legislative policy makers. They have not only succeeded in shortening the number of months a family may receive benefits, they have also lessened the amount of money families may receive weekly.

According to Alexandra Sirota of the non-partisan Budget and Tax Center, jobless workers will have as much as $300 a month less in their unemployment checks. Further, as of July 1, the number of months that people can receive benefits will fall from 26 weeks to 14 weeks. This decision will see fewer people consuming goods and services, schools being more hard pressed to budget free and reduced priced lunches for needy students, and local county commissions searching for new streams of revenue to help struggling families.

How can our legislature boast success as they turn their collective backs on their neighbors struggling to make ends meet? How devastating the loss of $300 a month is to too many families! As factories have closed (Ecusta, DuPont, and Coats) opportunities to find any sort of employment with a sustainable wage, have diminished. This legislative decision wounds these families deeply.

I would challenge our legislators to reach deep into their hearts and at least consider some means by which to assess what the benefits and losses are in reducing unemployment benefits during these difficult times. I would remind them that the votes of the poor are worth as much as those of the well to do. I would restore prior unemployment insurance policies.

Norm Bossert


(Bossert is running against Whitmire in this year’s November election


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