Rep. David Rutledge to hold coffee hours, speaks out on cuts to unemployment benefits
State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, today invited 54th District residents to join him for two upcoming coffee hours to discuss state and community issues.
The coffee hours will be held on:
- Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Lincoln Golden Ages Senior Center, 8790 Whittaker Road in Augusta Township.
- April 15 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Starbucks, 2010 Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti.
Rutledge recently fought against legislation signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder this week that reduces unemployment benefits for displaced workers in Michigan.
House Bill 4408, which passed the House by a 65-44 vote with many Democrats opposed, reduces state-paid unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks starting in January 2012.
Rutledge said he's troubled by the implications of cutting support for Michigan's displaced workers and their families to seemingly help pay for tax breaks for businesses.
“No one denies that the national economic downturn has devastated our state's economy, and as a result thousands of Michiganders are out of work through no fault of their own," Rutledge said in a statement. "This bill permanently diminishes state support for those displaced workers, cutting off help when people and their families need it most.”
Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, and Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township, both voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, joined Rutledge in opposing it.
Though the bill does include cuts to unemployment, Snyder's office said about 35,000 Michigan residents will continue receiving extended unemployment benefits this year because of the legislation. Federal benefits would have ended April 1 because Michigan no longer met the criteria to remain in the extended benefits program.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.