Leading Wisconsin business group pressures Evers to end enhanced jobless benefits


Tony Evers
Wisconsin state Superintendent Tony Evers speaks about his lifetime of experience in education. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)

Leading Wisconsin business group pressures Evers to end enhanced jobless benefits

June 09, 05:00 PM June 09, 05:00 PM

Wisconsin’s largest business group is taking its push to get people back to work to YouTube and the rest of the internet.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce on Monday launched a digital ad that encourages people to pressure Gov. Tony Evers to end the enhanced federal unemployment benefits in the state.

“He keeps saying ‘Eh, I’ve seen no data.’ He just doesn’t seem to think this is a problem,” WMC’s Scott Manley told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber on Tuesday. “It’s not just a problem, it’s a crisis. For a lot of employers this is an emergency.”

Manley said he hopes the ad will get people to call the governor’s office so Evers can finally “see the data he needs.”

Manley and the WMC, along with most Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin, say the enhanced unemployment benefits are making the state’s worker shortage worse.

The maximum unemployment benefit in Wisconsin is $370 per week, and the enhanced federal benefits add another $300 per week. The WMC and Republicans say that comes to nearly $17 an hour. Manley says some people can make just as much money sitting on the couch as they can on the job.

“You have to be willfully blind to the issue in order to conclude that this isn’t a problem,” Manley said. “I don’t know how the governor can say with a straight face that we don’t have a problem in Wisconsin. We have a problem nationally, but we definitely have a problem here in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin has had a worker shortage for years. Before the coronavirus, Wisconsin businesses said they needed people to work in manufacturing jobs, and there was a particular shortage of truck drivers.

Now, Manley said, there aren’t enough workers for much smaller businesses, and for much more common jobs.

“Our tourism businesses often have workers in this wage range of $16.75 or less who are going to be incentivized to stay at home,” Manley explained. “It’s going to be absolutely devastating to the resorts, the restaurants, the supper clubs, you name it in our leisure and hospitality industry.”

Manley says some of those smaller restaurants and supper clubs have already closed. He said without more workers, many more will soon close for good.

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