Friday, September 22, 2023
HomePoliticsState may pay Alaskans to return to work

State may pay Alaskans to return to work

A budget amendment offered by Sen. Bill Wielechowski would pay Alaskans to go back to work.

The budget intent language says, “It is the intent of the legislature that these funds be used to provide a one-time bonus of $1,200 for a resident of this state with an unemployment insurance claim as of May 19, 2021, who later accepts full-time employment of at least 30 hours a week in any industry in the state or $600 for a resident of this state with an unemployment insurance claim as of May 19, 2021, who later accepts part-time employment of at least 20 hours a week, but not more than 30 hours a week, in any industry in the state. It is the intent of the legislature that a resident may not be eligible for more than one bonus payment. It is the intent of the legislature that the bonus payments will be made upon completion of the resident’s fourth full week of employment.”

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The budget appropriation item is for $10 million. The budget is now in Conference Committee, a special committee set up to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Evidently the measure has bipartisan support, since so many Alaskans simply won’t work.

The federal unemployment bonus payments ended May 31. Employers across the state say that the bonus payments were so generous and long-lasting that they can’t find anyone willing to work.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Why pay folks for bad behavior? Cut the funding for unemployment unless you’re actively applying for jobs. That’ll solve the unemployment problem in a quickness. Stop pandering to folks that rather not work and get paid. This is the same crap mentally challenged thinking from these so called “legislators/government folks” who thinks buying buildings to give homeless a place to get drunk and high will solve the homelessness problem. Gosh darn it, why do we keep voting these out of touch with reality people into office.

  2. You have got to be kidding me, seriously. Give people a bonus but limit them once again by saying they can’t have full time work? Get people back to work, quit putting limits on them.

  3. What the, giving money, to lazy freeloaders.
    They can’t even, give us a PFD
    What’s wrong with this picture.

  4. So what about people like me who accepted reduced hours to keep working?

    Makes a fool out of me. Instead of hustling to help keep a roof over my head and some shred of dignity, the smarter play was indefinite unemployment and a bonus at the end.

    No wonder Alaska is failing as a society.

  5. Gone bonkers in Juneau…..again. A year and a half of continued unemployment checks, PPP, stimulus checks…..and now….this?
    How about a full statutory PFD for the folks who kept working during the pandemic?

  6. So, let’s punish those who continued to work? How about we pay out a constitutional PFD instead?

  7. Incentivize work by removing unemployment benefits completely. Do not reward ignorance.

  8. You’re required to have a updated resume and apply for 2 jobs a week to get UI.
    Although I agree the $300 bonus has been extended for too long, Alaska UI itself is lower than it should be.
    If Alaska really wants to get people back to work it will utilize UI claimants resumes on the job center website and work closer with unemployed individuals to find work that will pay a living wage. Or spend some money on more auditing of UI claimants job searches/applications.

  9. I have never heard of such a thing. Seems a simple cut off of the added entitlement should suffice. And where is this money coming from? I only see ‘these funds’ and a budget appropriation of $10 million dollars. I can think of many things our state leaders could better use that much money.

  10. Right! The “We don’t have enough money! We need taxes!” legislators at work again! This just boggles the mind. Unemployment benefits should remain a short-term payment. Maybe the legislature instead should consider requiring some form of community service from each recipient at least once a week.

  11. This is about the most boneheaded idea I’ve heard in a long time. ‘Those who do not work shall not eat.’ So long as a job is available no one should free load.

  12. Steal everyone’s PFD, then pay the lazy users gaming the system a bonus. Nice, this is how you motivate the hard working people? The politicians have completely lost sight of what real life is like and have no idea what all those of us that never stopped working are thinking about the idiocy of giving money to people to camp on their couch.

  13. Let me make sure I understand this…: the government puts people out of work because “OMG, COVID!!!” then not only pays out unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs to the locdowns/shutdowns, but also bumps up their unemployment benefits to more than they were making at work. Then, when no one wants to back to work (surprise, surprise!), they want to give people an employment bonus to get them back into the workforce. Meanwhile, as someone who’s been working throughout the entire pandemic, not only have I not received any additional pay for the work I’ve been doing or getting any additional “back-to-work” bonus, but I will also be footing the bill for all of this government largess through increased taxes! How about we just cut off unemployment benefits for anyone who is qualified to work until this problem corrects itself, rather than having our generous benevolent ruling class continue to throw OPM (“Other Peoples’ Money,” i.e., *MY* money) at people who could be working but *CHOOSE* not to?!?!

  14. The answer to this problem is obvious to everyone and their dog and won’t cost a thing. Stop paying people to not work. Pull the plug. Good grief, the people we send to Juneau are absolute morons.

  15. According to Senator Reinhold this morning on Fagan, the problem is with leadership.
    Long-time Representation is part of the Big-Machine and needs to go!
    The size of government hasn’t changed and needs to be cut and in a Big Way!

  16. Get rid of Stedman and his idiot activities with the budget. Change the whole Senate Finance Committee and start using the calculations on record to issue the correct amount of the PFD. Put the lazy persons who remain unemployed in a “no more money” account and starve them to work. Lots of those idiots in Wasilla. Great place for that agenda of “no work” mentality and “no want to go to work” mentality.

  17. That’s not right. That doesn’t give employers the opportunity to seek out and train better employees. I bet those more trained and experienced unemployed employees werent all that good working nor being around. A good employee doesnt sit around on their butt collecting unemployment when they can be working even driving Uber to go food while waiting for jobs to open up.

    Employers ARE you sure you want to hire an unemployed applicant being given an incentive to work for you? Cause they have no incentive to change themselves and that makes you stuck with a lazy employee.

  18. Good grief, what kind of idiots think this stuff up? There is so much wrong with the decisions made that got us into this situation in the first place, and now the idiots in the legislature want to once again prove just how out of touch and incompetent they really are. Stop the idiocy. No work no paycheck. Pretty simple stuff. Quit pandering to the lazy socialists. We didn’t elect these so called leader to lead us into socialism. Pay attention folks, and the next election cycle tell these morons to hit the bricks!

  19. Are you kidding me?! You can budget out something for people who won’t work, but you can’t pay the PFD according to laws?! How quickly do these legislators want to be voted out?

  20. Bribing people to work??? What happened to the good old American work ethic???

    Shut off all “free” money and allow people to be self sufficient and aquire self esteem…

  21. Re-establish the correct funding of the PFD. Pay the back monies owed. You will re-establish faith with the electorate AND juice the economy. Both are badly needed. No one trusts any agency of the bureaucracy. They trust the politicians even less. They could use the money, every man woman and child in Alaska, and it is owed them. Do what is right for once, and the people will reward you.

    If they don’t they will find out what Giessel and Coghill are doing this days and go start a bridge club with them, because the electorate is finally awake.

  22. Gotta echo… Pay them too much money in unemployment insurance benefits, then worry that they won’t go back to work, then get the brilliant idea to pay them more if they go back to work… Are the bums in Juneau blowing their second-hand reefer smoke into the capitol ventilation system? Cut the budget. $10M is a huge chunk of the PFD. Cut the wealth transfer gambits – it cannot work.

  23. This is so wrong on so many levels. I blame both sides of the fence for even considering it.
    I work in the maritime industry. We are importing mariners from the lower 48 just to crew our vessels. These are decent seasonal & non-seasonal positions. The wages being paid does not stay in Alaska.
    Alaska has the tools to get prospective students educated and in the door for the Alaskan Maritime Industry. AVTEC also offers classes to advance the mariners credentials.
    Why we are moving towards paying bonuses just to take a job is beyond me.
    For me, I’ve got a lot more yesterday’s than tomorrows. I’ve been up north since the late 70’s. Even in the bad times, I’ve never been without a job. Maybe not the job I liked, but it kept me and my family sheltered and fed. Never once did I ask for a government handout. Even thou I paid into it, I never drew unemployment. I’ve instilled the same work ethic into my sons and hopefully it will pass on to my grandkids.
    Our society has made it too easy with these parachutes. That needs to stop and stop right now. You don’t work, you don’t eat. Some might say this is cold and inhumane. But we have become a society of sheep.
    The unemployed need to get off there rears and start knocking on doors.

  24. WOW, union liberal Wielechowski is insane! If he wants to live in a socialist democrat state, move!

  25. This is another reason for the country to call Alaskans freeloaders, the federal welfare state.

  26. Was watching Gavel to Gavel when Sen. Bert Stedman and Sen Click Bishop met with Wielechowski and let him sponsor this.. So is having a majority really worth it? Democrats would make it worth it for them. But on our side, I don’t think they even know they are the majority

  27. They go to the capital and don’t get their work done on time. Now require special sessions to try to figure out how to pay other people to be just like them? Something is broken.

  28. Paying people to go back to work is one of the dumbest money wasting idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard of. How about stop paying people to NOT work? And vote this fool out of office.

  29. No, No, No, No! This is the problem with a government that’s to big and fiscally irresponsible. If they won’t work, let them be evicted from their homes and starve! I bet they go back to work.

  30. Here is an idea: Stop giving these people frigging stimulus checks and they will be forced to get off their butts and go to work!

    What we are seeing right now are restaurants with no servers, places advertising jobs that never get filled.

    Yeah the state paying these seagulls (term for those being given a hand out) is not a good idea at all. When they have no more money to pay for their cell phones and food on their tables they will get back to what is normal and get jobs. They apparently think these checks are just going to keep coming… And that it’s the way to live.. Off handouts. It’s time to stop coddling these people…get back to work.

  31. Seriously? How about a bonus for those of us who kept working. How about a double bonus for those who worked a job they were over-qualified for just to keep the machines running and the supply lines open so that the parasites cold still move about and eat.
    Plus, an added 3x bonus for the EXTRA work that had to be done because the 3 open positions were not even applied for and were not filled because so many were satisfied to park their arses on the couch. Plus, let’s add on a grand finale bonus for anyone who didn’t accept triple food stamp money on top of the unemployment payments. Sheeesh.

  32. Excuse me for asking this simple question, but……. didn’t most government workers (state, local and federal) keep getting paychecks regardless of whether they showed up to work or not during the pandemic?

  33. A sign on bonus for the kind of employees no one would want.
    Put ’em in the wind and stop mollycoddling slackers.

  34. So, they can bribe A holes to go back to work, yet not make one State Budget cut, and not pay the Royalties due to every Alaskan? What a crock

  35. Folks, hope all of you writing comments called your legislators and let them know how you feel. They need to hear from everyone.

  36. From an article by Jerry Newcombe: ‘I remember seeing a study a few decades ago which compared two men, both around 20 years old. One was on welfare, just eking out an existence. The other had a minimum wage job. They both received about the same amount of money. The one working might well have thought, “Why should I have to work so hard and receive so little — especially when my neighbor doesn’t work and ‘earns’ the same?”
    Five years later, the working man had advanced well beyond minimum wage, while the welfare recipient was still eking out an existence. Ten years later, things were even more disparate. And so it goes. Fostering dependence and paying people not to work has consequences.’
    Paying able-bodied people not to work destroys them. Even FDR knew this and formed the CCC, where my father worked to build Yosemite Park. Those who do not work shall not eat. Harsh, but natural law.

  37. How about cutting off unemployment. Giving a bonus is not fair to the workers who have already gone back to work. Whose idea was this.

  38. The 1950s definition of a seagull, referring to a person: eats, s@#ts, squawks and protected by the Government!!!

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