It’s Gov. Murphy’s job to fix the NJ unemployment mess (Opinion)
While the governor is busy giving executive orders on what businesses should stay closed and calling the shots on snow storm “states of emergency,” tens of thousands of New Jerseyans have still not received the unemployment checks that they deserve and were promised.
When we opened up the phone lines on our show a couple of weeks ago to ask people to talk about their challenges with collecting unemployment checks, our lines lit up like a Christmas tree. People were sad, frustrated, angry and just at the end of their ropes.
And while many people in New Jersey have said that they have received at least one check, there is still so much bureaucratic red tape to go through before they can get one cent more. People wait on hold for hours. People are told to call back at another time. People are fed up. The fact is, there was too much time being spent on warning us about the dangers of the pandemic that we have heard ad nauseam for the better part of the year. And there is not enough attention being paid to the people of the state who are running out of money.
Calls by the governor to “be patient” are now an insult. It is clear to most people who are waiting for these benefits that it doesn’t seem to be very high up on the governor’s priority list—or at least not as high up as mask-wearing rules and fining restaurants for breaking code. T
ake a look at a New Jersey subreddit about unemployment and you can read the heartbreaking stories of people who really need that money and are losing hope.
While it sounds like the state is making changes to try to alleviate the problem, they are too little and much too late. The State Department of Labor launched a new call center in June and its website now gives people assistance in filling out the required paperwork and online forms. But this is not a fix. This is a Band-Aid. And the only person who can fix this is the
emperor governor himself.
Think about this: if the three days a week that Gov. Murphy devotes to his press conference were instead devoted to fixing the unemployment issue, and of all of the information disseminated in those pressers was about who to call, when to call, and what is being done about the problem, then we would have less frustration and heartbreak in this state.
Gov. Murphy needs to see the unemployment payment problem as just as much of a “State of Emergency” as a snow storm. Remember, there are other issues besides COVID-19 and some of them can be tackled without Gov. Murphy‘s overreaching executive orders. That is, if he would just put his mind and his effort toward it.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.