VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY)– As businesses continue to struggle to find workers, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer is pleading with the governor to drop the extra pandemic unemployment benefit. It amounts to $600 a week, which Dyer says is enough to keep some people from going back to work.
“Its really another epidemic,” Dyer told WAVY.
Dyer wrote the letter to Gov. Ralph Northam asking that he “follow the bold leadership of 26+ states who have chosen to halt enhanced jobless benefits to entice workers to return to the workforce.”
“It’s bad that it affects taxes coming into the city but we’re talking about the lives of people that put their heart and soul into their businesses that continue to struggle,” Dyer said.
The governor has made it clear he is not interested in ending the extra unemployment payments. In an email to WAVY a spokesperson for his office said, “Virginia will not reject any federal funding that puts money into our economy.”
The email stated that Virginia’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average and the state has enacted policies and programs to help in the return to work.
An example of one such program is the ‘Return to Earn’ grant which will match up to $500 to qualifying small businesses who pay new hires a bonus.
The state does require people receiving unemployment to submit proof they’re looking for jobs and to accept offers they receive. Approximately 1,000 lost benefits last week for failing to comply.
Dyer believes Virginia Beach will bounce back in time but says, “why wait?”
He planned to send the governor another appeal via text message Friday night.
“We’ve gone from one crisis to another crisis but this one can be avoidable. Lets work together,” Dyer said.
The pandemic federal unemployment program expires Sept. 6.