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As I See It

WI lawmakers complain about unemployment backlog, but do nothing about it

Scott Robert Shaw



There is plenty of blame to go around. But we are still awaiting a solution. The state of Wisconsin failed to process unemployment claims in a timely fashion when the pandemic hit. We have been a national embarrassment. But more importantly, the lengthy delays in processing claims hurt those struggling the most in our state. Now we are learning, thanks to a state audit, that the Department of Workforce Development in charge of processing unemployment claims, dropped the ball big time. It took the department 13 weeks to process the average unemployment claim. More than three months. Yet the department had all of the information it needed to process the claims six weeks sooner. No one had input the information into the computer. Granted, this came amid a surge in applications, but clearly the Department of Workforce Development wasn’t prepared, and never really got up to speed. This is the same agency that was so overwhelmed, 99% of calls they received went unanswered. This is inexcusable. But what is worse is that, still, little has been done to fix the problem. And republicans and democrats in Madison are blaming each other for how it happened. How about actually solving the problem? Our lawmakers haven’t bothered to work since April, but they are still getting paid. They should have plenty of time to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand to get these people their unemployment checks.  

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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