(KCPW News) Governor Jon Huntsman says there's no rush for the state to decide whether or not to accept $61 million in federal stimulus money to expand unemployment compensation. Some state lawmakers have said the money should be rejected because it would create an on-going financial burden for the state once the federal money runs out, but Huntsman says the issue needs more study.
"We're having conversations through our Department of Workforce Services. We've got a committee there that is part labor, part companies, and part public, and they're having this very conversation. I think we're gonna want to listen to business, I think we're gonna want to citizens, I think we're gonna want to listen to labor, everyone involved," he said.
The governor says after the state studies the issue and gets more input from the business and labor communities, legislators could decide during the interim session whether they'll take the federal money.
Huntsman says the growing job problem in the state is not that people can't find any work, but that they can't find full-time work.
"The money is different in a sense because it would be directed toward something we've never paid much attention before, and that is underemployed, as opposed to unemployed, and so this would be an altogether new approach to dealing with those who are working part time, and are therefore considered underemployed, which is increasingly a problem," said the governor.
The governor says the state has two years to decide whether to take the federal unemployment money. He adds that Congress may amend the stimulus package so the state could get rid of the unemployment expansion once the federal money runs out.