Department of Employment Security not "reauthorized" - - Jackson, MS

Department of Employment Security not "reauthorized"

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By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Thousands of unemployed Mississippians could be affected by the house's decision to not pass a bill that would reauthorize the state's Department of Employment Security.

The deadline to pass Senate Bill 2404 was on Wednesday. House Labor Committee Chair Rufus Straughter decided not to bring Senate Bill 2404 out for a vote on the Mississippi State House of Representatives' floor.

Straughter rejected this because of the Governor Haley Barbour's refusal to accept 56 million dollars in federal stimulus funds. The governor didn't accept these funds for fear that once the stimulus money runs out, taxes would have to be raised to make up for it.

Straughter said they haven't completely decided to throw the bill out. "We have until July 1, to get this straight. That's the deadline we had initially."

If they don't make this deadline, then a special session would have to be called. Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby said this will cost tax payers money.

"It not only surprises me, it bothers me in the fact that it may cause us to have a special session and waste tax payers' money," Kirby said.

Meanwhile, Governor Barbour isn't pleased with the house's decision to not pass this bill.

In a statement he said:

"By refusing to bring up Senate Bill 2404 for a vote, house leaders have jeopardized the continued payments of unemployment benefits and put Mississippi at risk of being noncompliant with a multitude of federal guidelines, which will necessarily result in higher taxes."

Straughter said the $56 million could generate more economic activity by helping businesses save and create jobs, a move he said the governor doesn't seem to understand.

"[It] would turn into 120-million dollars. And, it would help ten thousand workers to be eligible for unemployment," said Straughter.

On Thursday, the Governor signed Senate Bill 2495, an economic stimulus bill that would restore $82 million to state reserves to help restore education, the state court system, and district attorneys' offices.

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