Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushes back against plan to raise state's $275 a week unemployment benefit


  • photo courtesy Governor's Press Office

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put a damper on the idea that Florida might raise its unemployment benefits payouts, calling the current maximum of $275 a week "fine" during a press conference on Friday.

DeSantis balked at the idea of raising the state's paltry unemployment benefit amounts when asked about a bipartisan effort in the legislature to raise them to a maximum benefit of $375.

“Increased benefits?” DeSantis said. “Well, no. ... Our unemployment is what it is, it’s fine.”

For the record, only three states in the entire US offer a lower maximum weekly benefit than Florida: Louisiana, Mississippi and Arizona. Florida's benefits (during non-pandemic times) run out faster than any other state. The state offers 12 weeks of payments, a full two months shorter than anywhere else in the union. A recent analysis of average unemployment payouts compared to cost of living found Florida to be dead last in the entire United States.

The maximum payout that a Floridian could receive per week, outside of the expanded payments rolled out for the coronavirus pandemic, is $275. That's less than Gov. DeSantis makes in 5 hours of work, only taking into account his salary from the state government.

Central Florida has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering mass unemployment as the tourism industry cratered. Orange and Osceola County have regularly been neck-and-neck for the worst unemployment rates in the state, even as other areas have recovered.

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