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Politics & Government
Do you remember Idaho's unemployment rate just as the recession was being noticed? It was 3%. The National Bureau of Economic Research said the great recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Since those declarations, Idaho's unemployment rate climbed to its peak of 8.8% in August 2010. By August 2011 it had dropped to 8.4%, and by August 2012 it was down to 7%.

Idaho Back To Work Bonus Program Kickstarts In July

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James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio
Seen in this file photo, Gov. Brad Little (R), second from right, announced the state will soon give bonuses people who have filed for unemployment and go back to work.

After fewer businesses than expected applied for help from the state to weather the recent coronavirus shutdown, Idaho is using up to $100 million of that money to push people to go back to work.

Gov. Brad Little’s (R) back-to-work bonuses will net full time workers $1,500 or part time workers $750, if eligible. Both would be taxable income.

The Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved the plan nearly unanimously Tuesday afternoon. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) was the lone no vote.

Alex Adams, Little’s budget chief, says the extra $600 a week the federal government has been giving those on unemployment adds up to more money than many of them typically bring home in their paychecks.

“The governor knows that we need to strategically bring people back to work and ensure that that perverse incentive federally isn’t a deterrent to getting folks back now that the majority of businesses are open, or have the ability to open,” Adams said.

“The Return to Work bonuses are based on a fundamental conservative principle – we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working,” Little said in a statement.

“We’re responding to the needs of businesses, strengthening our workforce and economic rebound, and saving taxpayer dollars in the long run.”

Like much of the country, Idaho’s workforce was hit hard during the initial coronavirus shutdown. It went from a record low number of jobless claims to a record high over the span of a few months.

Applications for the back to work bonuses open up July 13.

Employers would have to apply for bonuses for their employees through the state tax commission.

To be eligible, you have to have filed an unemployment claim after March 1 and gone back to work for a private or nonprofit employer making less than $75,000 a year.

A full-time worker is considered someone who has worked at least 30 hours per week over the span of four weeks. Part time workers must hit at least 20 hours per week over the span of four weeks.

More details on the program can be found here.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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