Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday that the state will no longer participate in the federal Covid-unemployment program which gives unemployed individuals an extra $300 in benefits per week. Instead, the state has launched a $1,200 back-to-work incentive initiative for those currently unemployed.
“Montana is open for business again, but I hear from too many employers throughout our state who can’t find workers. Nearly every sector in our economy faces a labor shortage.”Gov. Gianforte
Montana state residents will now also be required to fulfill job-search requirements – a step “that was that was waived at the onset of the pandemic” – in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. South Carolina has since announced they will follow suit, becoming the second state to opt out of “all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs.”
The Right praises Gianforte’s move. Conservative influencer Susan St. James tweeted, “Montana and South Carolina are canceling federal unemployment benefits. All states should do this. People need to go back to work and stop getting paid to stay home.” She further noted, “There are more than 7 million jobs available in the US. Biden needs to stop paying people not to work.” One Twitter user, a business owner, wrote, “[South Carolina] didn’t get rid of unemployment. They are the 2nd state, after Montana, to opt out of federal covid-related stimulus for unemployment. From the perspective of a business owner, it is a major part of why we can’t fill jobs.”
“Common sense prevails (finally!) as Montana provides incentives to citizens to encourage them to work – rather than paying them not to in exchange for their vote and submission to more government.”Ben C. Sutton Jr., Founder of Teall Capital
This is what happens when you extend unemployment benefits for too long and add a $1400 stimulus payment to it. Right when employers need workers to fully open back up, few can be found. pic.twitter.com/DlrQp8Vzw1— David Rouzer (@RepDavidRouzer) April 30, 2021
The Left strongly criticizes the governor’s move. Journalist Harron Walker, writing for The Guardian, stated, “Greg Gianforte says the financial assistance program is doing more harm than good. You know, Governor, Covid isn’t over yet?” and went on to list all of the reasons why his plan would fail. “Choosing to eliminate these critical benefits will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable,” stated U.S. Labor Department spokesperson Michael Trupo.
“Montana can’t find workers it claims because people are collecting unemployment – in reality it’s because the bigoted GOP in essence banned immigration for 4 years. The result is companies don’t have employees needed.”Dean Obeidallah, journalist and comedian
Political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen tweeted, “If only $300 a week in unemployment insurance is enough to prevent your employees from coming back to work, that says a lot more about your wages than it does about unemployment benefits. Pay your employees enough to live.”