PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday pushed Congress to renew federal payments for people left jobless because of the pandemic but declined to support increasing state unemployment payments that are among the lowest in the nation.
“Congress needs to act,” Ducey said. “This is on Congress.”
Arizona’s unemployment payment maxes out at $240 per week, second-lowest in the nation above only Mississippi. During the coronavirus pandemic that’s been supplemented by a $600 weekly payment funded by the federal government, but Congress does not appear on track to extend the funding before it lapses this week.
More than 450,000 people are receiving unemployment benefits in Arizona, up from about 17,500 before Ducey began ordering businesses to close in March to contain the spread of the virus. The $600 supplemental payments have helped many stay afloat, along with the businesses they patronize and the governments collecting taxes.
Traditional unemployment benefits are…