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Unemployment benefit extended, but will states participate? Questions remain about executive orders

Stimulus relief was stalled, and President Donald Trump took executive action, which some have called unconstitutional. While it’s possible that legal challenges will follow, the executive orders signed by the President will accomplish some of the things Congress set out to address in a full-relief bill.

First, there was no relief for local government in the executive order. That would likely need to be included in a full-bill. NYSAC told Finger Lakes News Radio late last week that it was becoming a dire situation for some counties. Many in the region are facing multi-million dollar deficits created by the loss of tax revenue sparked by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Second, President Trump’s measure takes on unemployment benefits, which he said would expand them for the unemployed by $400 per week. However, it requires states to chip in for 25% of the spend. Some experts have said that in New York it will reduce the actual amount received beyond the maximum unemployment payment to $300 additional. It also requires the state to enter into a financial agreement with the federal government for unemployed persons living there.

It’s not clear how many states will buy in to the executive action.

Third, the executive order attempts to tackle evictions. It’s not clear at this point if the executive action has the necessary teeth to prevent evictions from happening in all states. New York State’s eviction moratorium was extended, so this is less of an issue here.

Fourth, the payroll tax holiday that was instituted by President Trump’s order only delays collection, and doesn’t actually end it. For example, the holiday runs through December 31st, which means that many companies will likely not stop witholding it in the meantime. It would mean an extra 6-7% in an employed person’s paycheck.

All of these changes were potentially set to be included in a relief bill, but that hasn’t come yet. And Congress appears roadblocked at the moment. It’s unclear how these executive actions will impact those talks on a future relief bill. It also fails to push more money into the economy, which is sputtering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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