/Can Mississippi afford its match for Trump’s $400-a-week unemployment order

Can Mississippi afford its match for Trump’s $400-a-week unemployment order

Reeves pointed out that Mississippi may not be able pay its matching portion. Reeves said Congress must break the impasse and pass a COVID-19 relief law that is affordable for taxpayers and states. He announced Saturday that he would give unemployed people $400 per week in an unusual move that left politicians from both sides questioning Trump’s constitutional authority. After the $600 per week Congress approved in the pandemic early, this order will provide an additional $400 per week. Trump’s order would require states to provide $100 of the $400 per week. Reeves stated that Mississippi would be paying between $21 million and $23 million per week for this. This is roughly double the amount it currently pays in state unemployment benefits. Reeves said that they have not yet decided if they will participate. He has been involved in legal battles with the Legislature over his constitutional authority to spend state funds, even during times of crisis. Reeves stated that even with the recent infusion of $181million in coronavirus relief funds, the Legislature allocated for the state’s unemployment fund, the fund could be tapped quickly if the state needed to pay $400 per week. Reeves stated that the fund has $489 million at present, compared to its $700 million prior to the pandemic. Reeves stated that he appreciated Trump’s efforts to help workers in need. “The president acts,” Reeves added. “Members in Congress talk, but Trump acts. He did everything he could through executive order. He took the initiative. However, Congress must now come together.” Reeves stated that he and his staff had spoken to the White House Monday. Reeves stated that he believes he can decide whether Trump’s unemployment order will be implemented in the state and pay $100 per week to unemployed workers, as per the federal Stafford Act. Reeves’ spending authority has been challenged by Mississippi lawmakers, who claim that the state purse strings belong to the Legislature. House Speaker Philip Gunn repeatedly stated that only the Legislature could spend dollars, as lawmakers battled with Reeves over other spending issues. Gunn stated that he hadn’t had the opportunity to review details of President Reeves’ unemployment orders. Reeves pointed out that Mississippi’s unemployment numbers have greatly improved. The state’s unemployment rate is now 8.2 percent. This is down from an April high of over 22%, which made it seventh in the country for the number of jobs that have been returned since May and Juni.”