As state lawmakers make their way back to the Statehouse Tuesday for a special session to talk unemployment and neglected benefits, State Representative Nikki Haley, a gubernatorial candidate, has her own opinion.
“The goal is to fix an issue that was in a piece of reform legislation last session that was voted down just for no other reason, they had personal conflicts with the governor. I’m saying is what we should do is go ahead and reform the system and look at what we need to be doing. If we’re going to come back, lets reform the agency so that we can start replenishing the fund now,” says Haley.
Haley says it starts with accountability.
“Let’s make sure we put accountability in there so that the benefits that people are getting, they have to: one, prove that they are actually looking for a job, and two, make sure that things are done right. A fourth of the claims that we are paying out right now are not even completed properly. The applications are not completed properly,” says Haley.
Haley says the state could learn from past decisions.
“Back in 2000 we were averaging giving benefits for about 11 weeks, now we are giving them for about 13 and a half weeks. Had we stuck and actually put a plan in place where we only give it in an 11 week time frame, we would have saved $550 million. That matters, those dollars are small business dollars that can hire a lot of people,” says Haley.
As Governor Sanford’s impeachment resolution may come up in the special session, Haley says it may take away from what needs to be discussed.
“There has never been a time in our economy where we need to really have the government start working for the people. I don’t know how you introduce an impeachment resolution when the ethics report not even coming out until the first week in November. The job of a responsible legislator is to look at the facts, weigh the facts, and do what’s in the best interest for the people,” says Haley.
The session will start at noon on Tuesday.