Just last week a study was released that ranked Florida one of the four "stingiest states in paying unemployment benefits for those who haven’t had a job for 26 weeks or less." Florida has cut the amount of time to qualify for benefits, and cut the benefit period to 14 weeks. Of course, this study only included those who haven't had a job for that 26 week period. It didn't include the long-term unemployed, so the findings were a high number at best. Many don't get benefits at all.
Add to that the state's newly revamped CONNECT website that cost taxpayers a small fortune but still doesn't work properly and you've got a lot of people going broke in a hurry, thus widening the already large income gap in the state.
So it should come as no surprise that the governor who struck the words "climate change" from virtually every state agency's lexicon has now put his "It's Working" stamp of approval on the very same largely inoperable CONNECT unemployment website. The director of the state's Department of Economic Opportunity says the website is working just fine!
[Tom] Clendenning addressed a critical audit’s findings during Monday’s joint legislative auditing committee. Asked to grade the new CONNECT website, Clendenning gave it a B+.
Once again, failure is rewarded by the state of Florida, and one individual who doesn't have to worry about job security is Jesse Panuccio, the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity who is responsible for the entire CONNECT website debacle. Last year the legislature unanimously confirmed him for the six-figure job, even as the problems persisted.
Despite the passing grade from Clendenning, the website is still failing today:
But claimants like Eddie Batista, an unemployed sales representative in West Palm Beach, said CONNECT still gets a failing grade with him.
“I’m disgusted,” Batista said after the meeting when told about Clendenning’s comments. “It still doesn’t work. I don’t know what we’re going to do when the next bill comes in. We’re broke. A B+? No way, it’s an F.”
Florida is also famous for skewing test results, and this is no exception:
“So every item is not fixed and the potential for failure still exists?” Gibson asked Clendenning.
“I suppose there’s always an opportunity for failure,” he said. “While the overwhelming majority of the issues have been fixed, there’s still work being done.”
Try telling your employer (if you have a job) "there's always an opportunity for failure" the next time you screw up at work and see how quickly you get the opportunity to test drive that CONNECT website for yourself.
In an environment already hostile to the unemployed where nearly every possible cut has already been made, a website that blocks benefits even after a claimant has cleared every other hurdle Rick Scott and the GOP have set up, it's no surprise they would now say CONNECT is passing with flying colors.
In Scott World, the fact that the website isn't working means "It's Working."
It may be unspoken, but the word "failure" is no more of an option than the term "climate change" in Rick Scott's Administration.