Rep. Mitzi Epstein - Action in 2021-2022
Fighting for Public Education and Investing in Arizona
As the Ranking Member on the House Ways and Means Committee, Mitzi leads the Democratic Caucus on budget and revenue issues. She fights for a budget that recognizes the needs of the people of Arizona. Our children need affordable healthcare and safe schools, but this budget ignores KidsCare and cuts funding for education. It makes $2.5 BILLION of permanent cuts to revenue, and those cuts are almost exclusively for people who have over a Million Dollars in income in a year. This budget is unbalanced and blind to the needs of the people of Arizona.
WE Did it! We Passed Unemployment Insurance Improvements...
and yet, we still have work to do.
I worked on UI issues during all of 2020, and in January 2021, we established a bipartisan team to make improvements and modernizations. The part-time work cap or "Disregard" has been stuck at $30 since about 1983. The maximum weekly benefit was not adjusted since 2004. With an enormous effort and a coalition of stakeholders across Arizona, we did pass these improvements:
- Increased the max weekly benefit from $240 to $320
- Increased the max work penalty (called the "disregard") from $30 to $160 per week
- UI tax rates that are paid by employers will be REDUCED from 2020 and 2021 levels.
Unemployment Insurance is a very complicated system involving federal and state laws. I was glad to partner with the non-partisan Grand Canyon Institute and many other advocates and economists to begin the work of modernizing UI in Arizona.
Some TV News Interviews:
ABC 15 - Nov. 11, 2020: Epstein calls for Audit of UI Click for video and article.
"In her letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) of which she is a member, Epstein asked that the Arizona Auditor General be directed to focus on identifying how much companies pay into the system relative to their revenues, evaluating more "effective ways of processing claims," and the "cost and benefits of replacing the agency's archaic IT system."
- ABC15 - "Epstein calling for UI reform - Since before it was a Crisis" click for news report
- NBC12 - "Arizona Unemployment System is Ancient - State Lawmaker" click for news report
Laurie Roberts -- AZ Republic: "Bipartisan Group wants to Boost Checks" click for news report
"Cook, a Republican from Globe, is working with Democratic Reps. Mitzi Epstein of Tempe and Randy Friese of Tucson on a proposal to boost the state’s unemployment benefit and make other changes aimed at helping people keep food on the table and a roof overhead until they can get back to work.
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