Today, Americans for Tax Reform and its Center for Fiscal Accountability sent the following letter, urging Members of Congress to support the Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services (JOBS) Act of 2011. The bill would allow states to request the full amount of their federal unemployment funds up front, and then decide how best to manage the money in their own jobless systems. This is an innovative and critical step in reforming federal spending, and comes on the heels of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget passing in the House of Representatives, which would allow states to control other mean-tested programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. From our letter:
Currently, states are hamstrung by broad federal rules on unemployment insurance. This precludes targeted spending to address diverse populations – resulting in the same programs and spending for states with divergently different unemployment rates. This means states with low unemployment are required to treat federal funds the same way as states with high jobless rates, instead of being able to use the money to promote helpful employment initiatives or pay back federal loans.
The JOBS Act, then, allows states to be provided their full share of federal funds for the remainder of the year to administer as they see fit. This unties the hands of states that are currently beholden to capricious federal policy to innovate and experiment with strategies to get their populations back to work.
Click here to view the entire letter.