The Advisory Council met today, and several legislators sent a letter to the council about the deliberations. More on what the Council did in a follow-up posting.
One thing to point out in this letter is that the proposed increase in benefit levels is minimal: increasing the maximum from $363/week to $370/week. See proposal D12-31.
Only those currently at $363 would get this increase. Folks at lower weekly benefit rates would not see any change in their UI benefit checks, and those at the lowest qualifying benefit level — $54/week — would be cut off from benefits entirely, because the quarterly income needed to qualify for benefits is being raised to $1374.99 (from $1350). By removing these individuals from the unemployment rolls, the minimum weekly benefit level under D12-31 would rise to $55.
Note that in 2012 Wisconsin’s median WBR of $271.07 was below Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana (as well as Ohio and Iowa). In fact, only a few states, such as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina, Mississippi, and a few others, are below Wisconsin’s WBR.
In short, the proposed increase in the WBR in D12-31 is hardly something to get excited about.