Your morning jolt: State cuts to unemployment benefits on the table in January?

Huge changes in unemployment benefits could be in the works when the General Assembly convenes in January. The state owes $418 million – and ranks 17th among a list of 32 debtor states – for money borrowed from Uncle Sam to cover payments to the jobless.

State Sen.-elect Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, was interviewed by Lori Geary with Channel 2 Action News:

Millar said that total grows to $1.1 billion by the end of 2013 if the state does not make changes to taxes or how it pays benefits.

“Most of your elected officials, certainly in the General Assembly, I don’t think have a clue about the magnitude of this obligation,” said Millar.

“We need to be talking about fixing it; we need to be talking about fixing it right now.”

The fixes aren’t easy. If Georgia’s current 10 percent unemployment rate doesn’t improve then tax hikes for employers and benefit cuts for the unemployed must be on the table, according to Millar.

The video:

***
Kennesaw State University’s most famous student, Jessica Colotl, on Wednesday dropped in to listen to a campus lecture on illegal immigration given by Phil Kent, the local conservative provocateur.

Colotl, the daughter of illegal immigrants, set off a furor over the presence of undocumented students at universities when she was arrested earlier this year for driving without a license. She was convicted and sentenced to 48 hours in jail.

From this morning’s Marietta Daily Journal:

During the lecture, Colotl remained silent, but her friend, KSU sophomore and journalism major Alisen Redmond, 21, challenged Kent on his talking points, calling his statistics “flawed.”

***
My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington last night noted the House leadership positions won by a pair of Georgia Republicans:

Rep. Tom Price of Roswell was elected chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, which helps draft Republican legislative initiatives. That makes him the fifth-highest-ranking Republican in the House when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County was named to the Republican Steering Committee, which will help decide committee assignments for members of the next Congress.

This morning, Keefe sends word that Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, who defeated Democrat Jim Marshall of Macon, has been elected president of the House freshman class.

***

Shawn Hanley, chairman of the Fulton County Republican party, announced Wednesday that he’s a candidate for chairman of the state GOP. The election is next spring. The current chairman, Sue Everhart, hasn’t announced whether she’ll seek a third term.

Hanley offered her a hint in his press release:

It is expected that Everhart will continue the tradition established by her predecessors, and not seek re-election for a third term.

Democrats will have an election for their state chairmanship in January. Like Everhart, the current Democratic chair, Jane Kidd, has yet to offer her intentions. But candidates must submit their names by Dec. 16.

***
Two political candidates were slapped for questionable campaign behavior on Wednesday. From the Rome News Tribune:

The State Elections Board accepted a consent order Wednesday that closes the books on a complaint of voting irregularities by state Rep. Barbara Massey Reece during the 2006 election.

The Menlo Democrat agreed to a $2,500 fine and public reprimand for assisting five disabled Chattooga County voters with their absentee ballots. State law allows assistance for physically disabled or illiterate voters, but Reece failed to sign the required affidavit.

She was unopposed for re-election that year.

In a Wednesday phone call from Washington, D.C., Reece said she waived her right to a hearing in order to concentrate on her constituents and the upcoming Georgia General Assembly session.

And from Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:

The State Elections Board referred to the attorney general allegations that Athens mayoral candidate Glenn Stegall broke the law when he offered a contest for an iPad.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to ask the attorney general’s office to negotiate a settlement with Stegall or take the case to an administrative law judge who will hold a hearing on the facts and recommend an outcome. The board voted after hearing a brief report from Chris Harvey, inspector general for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Stegall, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Georgia, held a contest on his campaign website for the tablet computer. One way contestants received points was if they were registered voters. Among 30 other ways were to shake his hand or post a message on Facebook.

However, Georgia law prohibits offering payment for voting or even registering to vote.

***
Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia will be in the room today when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet to discuss how to proceed on START treaty ratification.

Among the other attendees will be Secretary of State State Hillary Clinton; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and ranking Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger; former Secretaries of Defense William Cohen and William Perry; former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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35 comments Add your comment

AngryVoter

November 18th, 2010
10:27 am

Jim –

Why call Jessica Colotl the daughter of illegal immigrants, when then only confuses the issue? Jessica Coloti IS an illegal immigrant. She knew that. She chose to lie about that. She chose to drive without a license. She chose to lie to a police officer. She chose to say she was an in-state student when she is a foreign student.

If someone shoplifts, do we call them a shoplifter, or do we call them the daughter of …? JC is a criminal who has been convicted because of her own actions. As an adult.

In addition, she is an adult, not a child. Why are we trying to confuse the issue by mischaracterizing her actions and status?

The issue of birthright babies is one which should be addressed, but it has NOTHING to do with JC’s situation. JC was not born in this country.

AngryVoter

November 18th, 2010
10:34 am

BTW, I’m in favor of creating a path for citizenship for people who were brought here by their families as children and now find themselves under threat of being deported to a country they do not know. IMO, it should only be available to those who did not commit crimes and have paid taxes, so Coloti would not be part of that. Education or military service would be required, and a binding waiver that neither their, nor a family member’s legal status could be used to bring additional family members into the US as citizens for at least 25 years. This would keep from rewarding the parents who put the children in this position.

Rather than address this situation head-on, though, Coloti chose to flaunt our laws.

Hanley would be a disaster

November 18th, 2010
10:58 am

Hanley is only concerned about one thing – himself.

The Centrist

November 18th, 2010
11:44 am

Why worry about cutting unemployment benefits? Nathan Deal at the local level and McConnell & Boehner at the Federal level have been empowered on their promise that their undisclosed plan will create private sector jobs. Johnny even advertised that he has plan to create private sector jobs to reduce the umemployment rate and offset any public sector jobs eliminated due to government spending cuts.

Gwinjoe

November 18th, 2010
11:48 am

Himself? Wasnt this guy Iin the Army? The guy has served and created the best organization in the state. Have you seen their website? fultongop.org. You must be the one he beat a few years ago. Sue is an embarrassment to our state.

Keep doing this GOP

November 18th, 2010
11:52 am

Johnny even advertised that he has plan to create private sector jobs to reduce the umemployment rate and offset any public sector jobs eliminated due to government spending cuts

Where is this plan act ? And what about the families that those benefit cuts will hurt the most. Please dont tell me there are jobs out there. I was at a job fair at the Galleria last week. Most companies only have one or two jobs available and some were there just collecting resumes. This is not the time to be cutting benefits.

ON AN ON

November 18th, 2010
12:15 pm

Jessica Colotl was brought here by her parents who are still here illegally. Deport all of them now. I am sick of spending my hard earned money for taxes to support illegals and their kids and then have them given more and better rights then I have. I have had enough. We have immigration laws and I demand that the government honors their oath and protect our boarders now. We as americans have enough on our plates and educating these kids who are not allowed to work here anyway is a big waist of tax payer money. Put that in with all the medical care and other entltlement programs they are offered free of change, enough is really enough. If they are caught then we go get their entire family and deport away. Its the law….FOLLOW IT!

An American Patriot

November 18th, 2010
1:12 pm

Cut off all unemployment benefits to able bodied people unless they agree to work on public service projects at least four days a week while they’re drawing benefits. The fifth day should be spent looking for employment. This will not only save the state and municipalities money, it will make it plain that entitlements come with a cost.

JeeZ

November 18th, 2010
1:18 pm

Jessica Colotl is trying to be a productive person in our society by getting an education…while (we) sit on our lazy…and COMPLAIN about life!!!!!

Douglas

November 18th, 2010
1:21 pm

I have only one thing to say to Sen. Isakson about his alleged plan: Good luck with that.

Southside Man

November 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Ask Steve Broadbent how much help Steve “self promotion” Hanley gave his campaign.

HR Department

November 18th, 2010
1:27 pm

Here’s an idea, stop awarding benefits to people that quit their job! I’m so tired of having employees quit, and then have to explain to the DOL why I believe they should not be entitled to benefits. i actually had an employee quit becuse she couldnt find a babysitter, went down to the DOL and applied for UI benefits, AND THEY GAVE THEM TO HER!!! of course I appealed, but should I really have to? i reperesent clients in California, and they are 10 times worse. I’m sure we could make a huge dent in the shortfall by awarding benefits to people that actually DESERVE them!

Jim

November 18th, 2010
1:27 pm

Patriot @ 1:12PM:

The condition of receiving unemployment benefits is that the recipient spend at least 3 days per work week engaged in a documented job search. The goal is to get another paying job, not provide a free labor force for the state.

I’m employed in the high-tech industry and have had a couple of spells when I had completed a contract job and my agency was unable to get me on another one. I worked very hard searching for the next position while collecting unemployment to help pay the mortgage. It’s a real bear going through that an unemployment only pays about 15% of what my normal wages are. I don’t need an ignorant jerk like you rubbing my face in it!

Us vs Us

November 18th, 2010
1:37 pm

@”HR Dept.” – Folks who quit a job are not eligible for unemployment unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a hostile work environment, harassment, significant cut in hours or pay etc. If you have a lot of employees who quit and then want unemployment is it possible there’s some endemic issues with your employer that are causing the turnover?

Cutty

November 18th, 2010
1:41 pm

To all you unemployed republicans that voted against democrats, bend over and good luck suckers.

An American Patriot

November 18th, 2010
1:49 pm

Jim

November 18th, 2010
1:27 pm
Patriot @ 1:12PM:

The condition of receiving unemployment benefits is that the recipient spend at least 3 days per work week engaged in a documented job search. The goal is to get another paying job, not provide a free labor force for the state.

It’s not free JERK read the story…..we’re $418M in debt to the feds and that should be paid for by those receiving benefits…..and how many of those receiving benefits actually spend three days a week looking for employment? You know, don’t come down on me with you sob stories…..I ain’t listening. I’m entitled to my opinion, and believe it or not, there are many, many others out there who agree with my line of thinking…….we’ve got to get rid of our entitlement mentality!!!!!!!

yuzeyurbrain

November 18th, 2010
1:56 pm

The obvious solution to unemployment is to create jobs. As Newt recently said, the choice is between a govt. handout and a paycheck. Therefore, Gov. Deal and legislature should eliminate unemployment payments and taxes to the max legally allowed, eliminate all state taxes on businesses and real property, and fully fund big new infrastructure projects like new football stadium for Falcons and deepening Savannah harbor which benefit businesses and therefore help create jobs. Ga. should also eliminate all programs like Medicaid that help non-productive members of society. Senators Isaakson and Chambliss can do their part by ending similar programs on Federal level like Medicare and income taxes. NOT, unless you liked Dickensonian England.

GOP Observer

November 18th, 2010
2:14 pm

Shawn Hanley is a good guy but most people know Sue Everhart plans totrun for state GOP chair again. Shawn wants to run against Sue. However,most Republicans are thrilled with Republican results from this election. Sue raised a ton of money and put together a good ground game. So showing Everhart the door as we approach 2012 doesn’t seem likely.

HR Department

November 18th, 2010
2:21 pm

US, you have to realize that I represent 250 individual businesses in 8 states comprising over 2,000 employees. Please don’t get me wrong, I fully support awarding employees that were terminated through no fault of their own or who are unemployed due to downsizing or lay off. My point was that here in Georgia, I have several clients that had employees quit, because they didn’t have a car, a sitter, didn’t like getting reprimanded etc.. and then went to the DOL and filed for unemployment. I would understand if there were extenuating circumstances, but these are clear cases of borderline job abandonment, and the DOL really needs to examine each case a little better before pulling out the rubber stamp.

thank GOD for unemployment

November 18th, 2010
2:23 pm

I just found a job that pays 2/3 of what I use to make. If I had received the cost of a postage stamp for every resume and application I sent out I could vacation in the south of France. I received just over $200 dollars in benefits per week. I worked at obtaining a new job like that was my job. I’m glad the search is over but my climb back up is no where close from over. I hated to speak of my struggles and fought depression daily. My search lasted almost a year,and my family has suffered as we tried to keep the bills paid. I was in housing for most of my life and it all went away over night. I have waited tables and cut grass,anything to just get by. I wouldn’t wish my past on anyone other than those who spout off about how great it is getting a hand out and receiving money for nothing. All I have ever wanted was to go to work and make a decent wage in order to support my family. Instead of snubbing your nose at others,try walking a mile in their shoes before you pass your all mighty judgement on others. Happy Holidays and may God bless EVERYONE !

The Centrist

November 18th, 2010
2:34 pm

yuzeyurbrain. Just on one point, please explain how Deal could force businesses to fully fund infrastructure projects? The US has had ten-years of tax cuts to the tune of $5 trillion dollars and opportunities costs of another $5 trillion. Remember, the stated reason for tax cuts was for people to spend their money as they see fit. People have proven time and time how they feel about spending their money because they continue to voted against even bond referendums for their own local infrastructure projects.

The Centrist

November 18th, 2010
2:41 pm

TEST CASE: Everyone who has a job making more than $40,000 per year. Apply for four jobs outside the company where you are currently employed, and just for the next 60 days, live on a maximum of $250 per week without dipping into savings.

Truth

November 18th, 2010
2:42 pm

If Georgia law prohibits offering payment for voting or even registering to vote then the Sanford Bishop campaign needs to be seriously investigated because I have heard that they filled buses and paid every passenger $10 to go to the polls in Muscogee County which just happens to be the county that he is from with his biggest base and the county that had numbers disproportionate from all other parts of the district.

pete

November 18th, 2010
3:13 pm

need to stop taking out of paychecks then, kinda like social security stop taking it out of my check.Oh I know its going to pay for the republicans goverment provided insurance and goverment provided retirement.But it is not good enough for the rest of us, I am just saying.

4T9ers

November 18th, 2010
3:22 pm

Hanely has too much personal baggage. GA GOP needs to set itself apart by not electing these characters who only use the office for political gain. Those who know need to speak up.

Bill

November 18th, 2010
3:36 pm

Shawn Hanley and his wife got involved in a number of primary races across the state many against tea party supported Republicans. This could be a real fight between the old guard and the conservative activists.

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yuzeyurbrain

November 18th, 2010
7:15 pm

Centrist, I am not sure if I understand your take on funding infrastructure projects. What I was trying to say was OK for govt. to fund infrastructure projects that help private busn. because they are the job producers. Actually, my whole blog was tongue in cheek although I am not too surprised that many support the absurd reasoning I presented.

Bill Orvis White

November 19th, 2010
7:24 am

That’s why we need a Southern Coalition whereby these great states don’t have to answer to Liberal Washington with its massive unfunded mandates.
The Southern Coalition of the United States would institute the FAIR Tax, stop Obamacare at her borders, bring God back into public places, end public screwels, end unemployment “benefits,” eradicate all draconian environmental and standard rules and regulations on businesses.
If only we would adopt these ideas, we would see massive job growth.

Flag this comment or print it out and post it on your walls – even you dumb liberals. In due time, everyone here will see that Bill White is Right.

Amen,
Bill

Us vs Us

November 19th, 2010
2:43 pm

@Bil White – “SCUS” – seems like an apt moniker. Good luck with that.

New Blood

November 19th, 2010
4:13 pm

Shawn Hanley has my support. BYE BYE Sue!

Gov. James Jackson

November 19th, 2010
8:03 pm

As to unemployment benefits, its not entirely a “giveaway.” It’s a benefit of unemployment INSURANCE for which premiums were paid. Yes, the fund is in a hole, and there doesn’t appear to be a way out of it other than increasing premiums, cutting benefits, or some combination of both–not pleasant prospects. But then we hear “we need to cut off these giveaways altogether.” Really? Cutting off everything and having people end up on the street homeless, unable to spend practically anything that might boost the economy just a little, flooding more emergency rooms because they can’t afford the very least amount of medical care? I guess we can just let them eat cake and die in the streets: “FU, neighbor; I’ve got mine, you get yours.” (Guess you’re willing to give up your own Social Security benefits, too.) Do you really think people who are scraping by now on the pittance of unemployment insurance benefits actually don’t want to have a decent job commensurate with their skills, one that would pay a liveable wage, rather than teetering on the edge of financial disaster? It’s their own fault that the economy is in the tank?

And as for the notion of a “Southern Coalition” that would nullify federal law and/or secede from the Union, how’d that work out for you last time?

OMG

November 19th, 2010
9:22 pm

Now we have a Republican in charge of the labor department and those labor department slacker employees will see their jobs eliminated. we don’t need them. prove your unemployment online and close all of the unemployment offices. we should be able to save a great deal of money. if you have a problem use the automated phone options, internet or just get a job. In addition, reduce the amount of the check. they should only get just enough to look for work. so what, they shouldn’t have lost their jobs. I didn’t lose my job.

Former Fulton GOP supporter

November 20th, 2010
12:02 am

Hanley is delusional.

GA GOP

November 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Now that Deal is elected, we won’t need unemployment benefits. The economy has already started a rebound in reaction to his win. Look for an explosion of freedom and income.