Missouri leaders have mixed reaction to end of federal unemployment benefits

Parson says no more eligibility as of June 12
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 19:50:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri legislators had mixed reactions to Gov. Mike Parson announcing that federal COVID-19 pandemic unemployment benefits will soon end in the state.

Parson said Tuesday afternoon that Missourians will no longer be able to receive those benefits beginning June 12.

“Many business owners and employers are still struggling, not because of COVID-19, but because of labor shortages resulting from excessive federal unemployment programs,” Parson said during a news conference.

Rep. Sam Graves, who represents the state’s sixth district, said in a tweet that Parson “absolutely” made the right call.

“With more than 221,000 job openings in Missouri, it’s time to get folks back to work,” Graves tweeted.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said in statement that Missourians refusing to work so they can collect unemployment is “an offensive, right-wing myth.”

“Contrary to what the governor claims, the free market – not some federal boogeyman – is primarily responsible for Missouri’s tight labor market,” Quade said. “When there are more open jobs than available workers, businesses must increase wages to attract prospective employees, particularly in industries with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure. That’s how supply and demand works. If companies provide a livable wage, applicants will respond.”

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who represents District 4, said in a statement to 41 Action News that Parson's announcement was "welcome news." The state, according to Hartzler, is "ready to take off and boom economically but can’t due to labor shortages and misguided priorities from the leadership in Washington."

Following the announcement, Parson tweeted that while Missouri is in the “top tier” for economic recovery, employers are struggling to fill jobs.

This is a developing story and will be updated.