Unemployment has hit double digits in Oregon, and in some rural areas as many as 20 percent of people are out of work. Congress extended benefits last year, and then put language in the stimulus bill that offers extra funds for unemployment insurance to states that make certain changes to their unemployment laws.
Oregon already meets some of the requirements for federal help, and the legislature is looking at a package of proposed bills (pdf) to do more. Supporters say these changes will modernize the system and give a little extra cash to get people through these especially bad times. Opponents say they’ll burden employers at a time when they need all the support they can get to stay in business.
The changes could affect anyone filing for unemployment benefits, and could offer more benefits to part-time workers and unemployed people with children in particular. Have you received unemployment insurance in the past or are you getting it now? If you’ve gone beyond unemployment insurance limits, what are you doing now? Are you an employer contributing to the system? Would you like to see changes in unemployment benefits?
- Diane Rosenbaum: State Senator (D-Portland) and chair fo the Senate Commerce and Workforce Development Committee
- Robin Quon: Independent hearings representative for employers in unemployment insurance hearings and former administrative law judge in Oregon, Washington and Illinois
- Steve Wright: Unemployed forest worker
- Tom O’Hare: Unemployed house painter
- Troy Reinhart: Financial advisor and partner in Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management