FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2021
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, Governor Cox announced that the additional $300 weekly unemployment benefits and other federal unemployment programs related to the pandemic would end June 26, rather than the federal expiration of Sept. 6. The move to end the unemployment stipend prematurely is a trend among states with Republican governors: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming have also pledged to end the benefits early.
Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, offered the following statement:
“Every Utahn, regardless of where they live or their education level, deserves to be able to pay their bills, keep a roof over their head, and feed themselves and their families. We cannot afford, financially or morally, to return to a ‘normal’ where hardworking Utahns cannot afford to take care of themselves or their families.
“We should not so easily forget the lessons we learned from this crisis. The federal unemployment enhancement program was instituted not only because millions of Americans found themselves out of work, but also because underlying unemployment benefits are insufficient to provide for the everyday needs of individuals and families, especially as the cost of living in our state continues to rise astronomically. For too many workers, their benefits were based on having made Utah’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, or only an abysmal $2.13 per hour for tipped workers.
“Time will tell whether this move by the Governor is premature. But when it comes to our broken unemployment system or the insufficient minimum wage in our state, we cannot wait. Our leaders must act now to uphold the dignity of all people, including workers and those in need of work.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.