Gelber: Lawmakers didn't have to reject stimulus money

05/08/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

As the Florida legislative session concludes today, one thing that the Republican-led Legislature did that has outraged some Democrats and bothered Gov. Charlie Crist, is the rejection of $444 million in federal stimulus money for the unemployment trust fund.

When it was rejected, GOP lawmakers suggested it would be fraudulent to change the eligibility rules in a few years when the economy improves; they said the money would only cover two months of unemployment and sap the state’s unemployment trust fund.

But Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami, says that’s hogwash. Gelber, who is running for the U.S. Senate next, spoke to WMNF from the floor of the Senate this morning to say it was all about modernizing the system to keep track of people who are unemployed.

Crist said earlier this week that he was heartened to learn that the state still has two years to apply for the money.

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