How would Arizona pay for Trump-ordered unemployment benefits?

How would Arizona pay for Trump-ordered unemployment benefits?
Posted at 9:49 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 00:49:23-04

Just days after Governor Doug Ducey's meeting with President Trump, the president issued an executive order restoring $400 in additional unemployment benefits.

It won't be worth much until Ducey agrees to split the bill.

"The state only gets the $300 if they come up with the extra hundred dollars," said Dave Wells, research director for Grand Canyon Institute.

In a policy brief released on Monday, Wells estimates it would cost the state about $325 million for five weeks of supplemental payments to unemployed Arizonans currently receiving benefits.

The good news? "The state can afford it," he said.

Wells estimates Arizona is still holding at least $424 million in CARES Act money that has to be spent by December.

"We definitely don't have an argument for saying we don't have the money," he said.

ABC15 asked Ducey's office if he plans to match the funds and how it would be paid for. We did not receive a response.

But in a July 30 press conference, just after the original $600 in federal benefits ran out, Ducey was not interested in talking about the state paying more to Arizonans who currently receive a maximum of $240 per week, the second lowest amount in the U.S. just behind Mississippi.

"This is on Congress," Ducey said, "Arizona is doing its part. The federal government has to do their part."

Democrats passed an extension of the $600 in May. A Republican proposal calls for that amount to slashed to $200 per weeks.

For now, it's up to Ducey to decide what happens next.