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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:33 AM
Original message
Florida drowning in jobless claims.
This is from the Bradenton Herald. This is getting to be a desperate situation. The department has so few people on staff that people can not get through.

Floridians who want state unemployment benefits may need to brush up on their computer skills

Floridians who want state unemployment benefits may need to brush up on their computer skills. Thats because theres no way to sign up in person, and those who apply by phone can expect either busy signals or waits of up to 90 minutes to speak with someone.

Ive called them on that line, and its been busy for hours on end, said Marta Gonzalez, a Miami resident who wants to know why she hasnt received any payments yet. As the ranks of Floridas unemployed grow, the state labor department is finding itself deluged with applications for compensation, which maxes out at $275 per week.

In December alone, the department handled more than 157,000 applications, or almost triple the number from the same month in 2007. For all of 2008, the department handled 1.3 million applications, or almost twice as many as the previous year. And the problem continues to get worse. Last week alone the state handled 87,000 claims, or more than four times as many as in the same week of last year.

The spike in benefit applications is tied to Floridas rising unemployment rate: 7.3 percent in November, up from 4.8 percent the previous year. December unemployment numbers are scheduled to be released today. The federal government has extended the maximum time people can collect benefits from 26 weeks to 59 weeks in Florida. But this has added to the states workload as thousands of people whose benefits had expired reapply.


Claims not taken in person? Good grief!

Many frustrated applicants visit local unemployment offices only to find that claims are no longer taken in person. In general, workers at the local offices dont even have access to the state computer system that carries the unemployment claims.

For example, Browards unemployment agency, Workforce One, has one person in its Hollywood office who can look up the status of benefit applications. He cant change the applications, but the line to see him has snaked around the office anyway.


They don't have access to the state computer system at the local office? This is just pathetic.

Maybe they could take some of the cool cash on hand for CSX which earned 2.2 billion last year.

This is ridiculous to be holding $795 million for a corporation while neglecting the ones who are now out of work.


The money is in hand and awaiting finalization of a deal between the DOT and CSX that would create a commuter line in the Orlando area. The state's plan to buy 61 miles of rail line for the Orlando commuter train would force CSX to shift much of its freight traffic to its S Line, which travels through the center of the state, including Lakeland, and already carries a large number of trains daily.

What is puzzling about the CSX deal is that, to hear our lawmakers talk, it hinges on resolving a question of liability when CSX uses the Orlando commuter rails on off-peak hours. Why aren't the fiscal conservatives or the fiscally responsible in Tallahassee asking why the state of Florida is paying a national corporation that made a record $2.2 billion profit last year - up 26 percent from the year before, incidentally - so much for a project that some observers say could be done for one-third or less than the current price tag?


I agree with The Ledger editorial...who the heck is running this state?
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Welcome to GOP outsourcing.
It's the same in Texas.
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summer borealis Donating Member (244 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. Online is the best way to file
Here inPa., back when claims were taken in person during a recession, it took all day in line.
Online is better.

The real problem is Fla.'s maximum benefit of $275 a week.
It's $588 in Pa. and over $600 in Mass.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. Many people are not online.
There are still many people who are in awe of that internet thing. That's a real problem, and the state should be aware of it.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. I saw a report on NBC last night that
over 700,000 people are seeking unemployment benefits in Broward county alone.

This is frightening
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-flzj...
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Belial Donating Member (503 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. I think that 700,000 is for the entire state.. not just Broward?
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks n/t
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retread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
4. $275 a week!!! n/t
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. It is very low.
I did not realize that there is so much difference from those other states. Stunning.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. As our work has slowed and the possibility of fewer hours per employee per week has risen
we've discussed a number of scenarios from reducing hours across the board (to spread the misery more evenly) or rotating layoffs among all of our staff. We've done both before when the economy dipped with okay results.

So, our office manager began doing research on layoffs and unemployment compensation. Max benefit per week is $474. A hell of a lot better than $275. I'm pretty sure the benefit period is 26 weeks, but I don't know if that is 26 weeks of drawing full benefit, or if it's extended if the unemployed person is drawing a partial benefit.

We were able to find most of the info online, but when our office mgr had to call the state office she was on hold for about 45 minutes to an hour.

This info is for N.C.

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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. South Dakota's isn't much better, frankly.
And those figures are BEFORE federal taxes are deducted; when taxes are taken out, it's even lower. Personally, I don't think taxes of any kind should be deducted from unemployment, the checks are low enough as it is.

I've been on unemployment in SD for many months now with no luck in finding anything yet. Living in a very rural area (which I hate) doesn't help much, either, but we had to do so for hubby's job. When he had a job, it didn't really matter all that much that I couldn't find work, except for the psychological and self-confidence toll on me. But now that he's been out of work since December, things are a lot dicier. I'm grateful to have the unemployment, but it's not much at all and if I were on my own I'd have been out on the street months ago. While SD currently has a much lower unemployment rate in most areas, it's starting to increase as more and more businesses and industries are getting hit locally with what's happening nationally.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
5. Well, maybe McCain will brush up on his computer skills so he can fail again in 2012.
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RagAss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. Jacksonville is about to get hit with major layoffs in it's corporate world !
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 07:37 AM by RagAss
By the end of the first quarter of this year an additional 5% is expected.
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
10. and they still have not given out the extension passed on 11-23-08
Florida is using the Federal Unemployment money to run the State. (Gov Crist had caviar at his recent wedding). No proof.. just 'sayin....
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. Time for Florida to join the real world and have a state income tax
Relying on tourism to keep the coffers full is not going to work for a pretty long time.

Refusing to institute a state income tax, while asking for federal handouts to cover the shortfall, is inherently unfair to the rest of us who pay hefty state taxes AND federal taxes..

It smacks of the childhood practice of kids hoarding "their money", while asking Mom & Dad to buy them stuf :)
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Usually at this time of year...restaurants are crowded, traffic is bad.
Tourist season usually starts in November and goes on till early spring.

Restaurants now are not that crowded, and traffic around town is not like usual during tourist season.

You may be right, something has to be done.

My first recommendation would be to do away with the billions of corporate tax breaks, but that ain't gonna happen.
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lenegal Donating Member (258 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. I agree. I live in Clearwater. The traffic used to be horrendous in the past
During tourist season. Not any more. Also, I just read an article in the St. Petersburg Times. Our Unemployment rate is over 8% right now.

The Tampa Bay Area is one of the most hard hit by the economic downfall.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Even states with income taxes are having problems
Big problems.

The monies they were dependent on have vanished, a la the decline in the stock market and the housing bubble.
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Still Sensible Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Could someone enlighten me?
I am not familiar with exactly what Florida does, but I have always observed that the whole state income tax question was quite misleading. In those states I am familiar with--Texas, Nevada, and Washington--the property taxes are so much higher that they make up the difference. The fact is, each state faces similar needs in government services, it's just that states with no income taxes make it up elsewhere. Is Florida any different?

Personally, I suggest state income taxes are fairer than property taxes, which burden property owners disproportionally.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Florida has relied on income from "fees & taxes" from hotels, cruise lines & amusement parks
and the like, for a LOT of their state operating funds, therby releasing the people who live there, from shouldering their share. It's a nice way to operate, BUT when there's a serious downturn in the economy, those revenues start to tail off, but the services they have previously paid for, do not "go away"...so minus a state income tax to start with, the ONLY way the state can recoup losses, is to ask for federal help and/or increase property taxes..
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
25. That drives me crazy about SD as well. No state income tax,
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 06:36 PM by liberalhistorian
and they rail against taxes and the eeeevil gubmint, and yammer about how "independent" and "self-reliant" the state is and we don't need no stinkin' gubmint, etc., etc., you know the drill. Yet without the federal farm and ranch subsidies, this state would be nothing economically, and without federal disaster relief after blizzards and tornadoes and the like, it'd also be a lot worse. And the state has no hesitation about holding out its hand for federal assistance and benefits, all the while absolutely refusing to ever even consider a state income tax of any kind whatsoever.

And I had no idea, frankly, that Florida doesn't have a state income tax, that floors me. A state like South Dakota can get away with it most of the time (even though I strongly disagree with it and think that the sales tax is far too regressive and more unfair than a state tax), but I can't see how Florida could. No wonder it's in such a mess.
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Joe the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
13. Well it's run by a Republican......
so this is no surprise, it was once even run by Jeb Bush and you know how great the Bush's are at running things. :sarcasm:

Republicans have a tendency to fuck up everything they are running and Florida is a prime example.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
16. Wouldn't it have been great if those who really are the Power had not been
Able to persuade Barack Obama and the Senate about the BailOut monies.

What if the second tranch of 350 Billion dollars was not once again handed over to the top echelon of internecine banking people, just a few people really, but instead handed over to the states.

Instead of once more giving the foxes their chicken eggs, we could have seen the 350 Billion gone to each state, based on per capita shares. So while California woul d receive t the most, due to 32.5 million people residing there, tiny Rhode Island's citizenry would receive the same amount per person.


States that are facing budget deficits of incapcitating proportions would not have to lay off schoolteachers, nurses, fire departments, police departments, accountants, social workers, etc. Also, welfare payments, disability, and school district payments would be able tobe made.

Instead, we watch the new Preisdent invent the wheel. SO we will have, at some point in the future, many construction jobs? Is a school teacher or an accountant now in their late forties and about to be pink slipped going to start using a jack hammer or be taught how to pour concrete?

The problem with government spending is that politicians complexify every step of the way. And the simple, honest and real solutions are not even considered.

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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
18. 275,000 Floridians lost jobs in December - the busiest time of year?
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
19. The Bush family ...the gift that keeps on giving .........us the shaft.
Well to be fare ...we will need that CSX commuter train for all those people who will be leaving Florida.
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BayjanDem Donating Member (318 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
23. I claim online
But I went to the office near me for job opening info, and I listened to people that don't have computers singing the blues about the call in number. 90 minutes on average. Everything is applied for online now.
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DollyM Donating Member (837 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
26. Wisconsin is wanting their money back!
My husband had an extension in unemployment from Wisconsin over the summer and they have decided he didn't deserve it and they want their money back! $3000.00! And we are sitting here broke, unemployed, freezing. They are set to run out of money in February so they are now going back and trying to shake people down for past claims. We are going to file an appeal since we don't have the money to even pay the heating bill here, much less give them back $3000.00 but I have no doubt they will rule in thier own favor. Still, it will delay it for a bit . . . I think you will hear more of this going on as states run out of money and yes, we have sat on the phone for hours at a time trying to get through to the unemployment office in wisconsin and it is IMPOSSIBLE!
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
27. I really hate to see people suffer like that, but Florida DID vote
for Jebby not once, but TWICE. Well AFTER they should have seen what he was like and what was happening by the end of his first term. You get what you vote for and pay for.
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happygoluckytoyou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 01:12 AM
Response to Original message
28. HECK OF A JOB JEBBY
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