Three Colorado Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, asking the governor to end the extra $300 a week of federal unemployment aid, in order to incentivize more people to return to work.
The letter was penned by Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Lauren Boebert, and Rep. Ken Buck.
In the letter, the lawmakers say that so far 20 governors across the nation have announced plans to end the federal unemployment benefits. The lawmakers go on to say that nearly 50 percent of small businesses have reported staffing shortages and unfilled job openings. They also say the Colorado Restaurant Association is reporting that 90 percent of restaurants say they have had trouble finding staff for the summer season.
The lawmakers also pointed to the May jobs report, saying that millions of jobs weren't filled and that 100 million Americans are not participating in the workforce.
According to CNBC, The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, which was lower than what economists had estimated it would be, which was about 671,000. However, CNBC points out that the number of jobs added in May was double the number of jobs added in April.
In the final part of the letter, the lawmakers write that now is the time to end the extra unemployment benefits, since COVID-19 cases are at their lowest rate since the pandemic began, and the state is returning more and more to pre-pandemic life.
"It is imperative that you join other Governors across the United States and reject the extended unemployment subsidy. The benefit was meant to provide temporary relief, not be a permanent addition to unemployment benefits."
Right now Colorado already has a back-to-work incentive program that was launched in May.
Under the Colorado Jumpstart Incentive program, unemployed individuals are eligible to receive an incentive of up to $1,600 to support the transition into full-time work.
Eligible claimants who return to work full time in May will receive $1,600. Those who return to work full-time in June will receive an incentive of $1,200. To receive the full incentive, workers must maintain full-time employment for at least eight weeks after finding a job.
The Governor's Office said the incentive payments are expected to be issued during July and August of 2021 and will be distributed in two installments. Claimants will become eligible for the first half of the incentive after approximately four weeks of full-time employment and will become eligible for the remaining half after approximately eight weeks.
The CDLE’s website says one can opt into the program through MyUI+. If a person reopens their unemployment claim within eight weeks of opting-in, they will forfeit any yet-unpaid incentive payments. People will not be able to appeal a disqualification.