Stamas gives governor a D on unemployment agency response

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas is giving Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a D on her response to Michigan’s historic unemployment situation.

“The governor is repeatedly failing the people of Michigan, where over one million workers are now unemployed due to her stay-at-home lockdown order,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency website has crashed multiple times and thousands of Michigan workers still cannot file or have received vital unemployment benefits to support their families.

“Michigan workers are increasingly feeling frustrated and desperate. First the virus threatened their lives, then the governor’s lockdown threatened their livelihoods, and now the failure of the governor to fix the UIA problems threatens their ability to make ends meet.”

Stamas said he’s seen and heard numerous reports about UIA problems. One report by the Sinclair Broadcast Group said the state’s unemployment website crashed for nearly six hours on April 13, and a recent poll published by Bridge Magazine said over half of all laid-off or furloughed workers are unsure how they’ll feed their families.

“The state has thousands of paid state employees at home who should be moved to the UIA to help unemployed workers,” Stamas said. “I have talked with Director Donofrio about my concerns on the number of people who have been unable to apply and receive benefits, and I appreciate all his and the employees’ work to help. This is a problem largely resulting from the governor’s actions, and she needs to act to fix it.”