Orwell alive and well in Fla: State renames “unemployment compensation” as “employment assistance”

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George Orwell must be alive and well in Tallahassee.

How else to explain the decision to rebrand the state’s Unemployment Compensation Benefits Program to the Reemployment Assistance Program, beginning July 1?

Rick Scott and Co. believe the legislation allowing for the name change focuses attention on what they believe is the true purpose of the program: finding employment for Floridians, while also providing more than $500 million in tax relief to Florida businesses by reducing the unemployment tax for employers.

“This transformation to Reemployment Assistance is one of my top priorities for economic development and job creation,” said Governor Rick Scott. “In addition to more accurately reflecting this program’s goal to get Floridians back to work, businesses and employers statewide will also receive more than $500 million in tax relief.”

House Bill 7027, which passed during the 2012 Legislative Session and was signed by Governor Rick Scott on March 28, 2012, renames the Unemployment Compensation Program as the Reemployment Assistance Program, emphasizing the job search activities and reemployment services offered by Florida’s workforce partners to jobless claimants receiving benefits. Florida is the first state in the nation to change Unemployment Compensation to Reemployment Assistance. Additionally:

o    Changing the name of the program does NOT change access to benefits provided by the state of Florida or the federal government.

o    Claimants will still be able to access benefits and file their claim the same way as they did previously, by going online at www.floridajobs.org, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

o    The legislation does not further extend benefit eligibility.

“One of Governor Scott’s priorities was to implement a Reemployment Assistance Program to better connect job seekers with possible employment opportunities,” said DEO Executive Director Hunting F. Deutsch. “This Program will help enhance jobseekers’ workforce skills based on the current job market and future workforce needs.”

Orwell himself could not have written a better quote.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.