MADISON – Fifty Chambers of Commerce from across the state – including Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state chamber – sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and lawmakers urging them to end federal pandemic related unemployment benefit programs that are contributing to Wisconsin’s workforce shortage, and instead use American Rescue Plan funds to incentivize people to reenter the workforce.
The chambers point out in the letter that workforce was already the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin businesses prior to the COVID-19 downturn. Instead of a bounce back from the pandemic, however, the Wisconsin economy is being held back by an acute labor shortage made worse by government benefits incentivizing people to stay home.
In part, the letter reads:
“As the representatives of thousands of Wisconsin businesses, we urge two actions to address this challenge, both in the short- and long-term.
“Wisconsin should join states like Idaho, Iowa, Montana, and South Carolina in ending the $300 per week federal UI supplemental. Instead, funds from the American Rescue Plan should be used to incentivize work by offering bonuses, similar to what is being done in the aforementioned states.
“Second, Wisconsin should reinstate the talent attraction campaign started in 2018 in order to recruit workers to our state to mitigate the continuing decline in working age people, which was well documented by the 2020 Census.”
The letter was sent to lawmakers in hopes that policymakers would take steps to get workers back on the job.