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Ducey to Congress: “Figure it out” regarding federal unemployment aid

Gov. Doug Ducey addresses the media Thursday, June 11. 

(The Center Square) – Gov. Doug Ducey refused calls to use state funds to supplement unemployment payments should Congress allow the extra $600 weekly payments to sunset this week.

Ducey said the state was pressured to pass a balanced budget in previous years and bolstered the state’s rainy day fund.

“Arizona is going to do its part but we’re going to need assistance from Congress,” he said. “We don’t print money at the state level. We’re not in a position today, especially in a pandemic, to be borrowing money.”

Arizona allows $240 per week in maximum unemployment benefits, the second-lowest rate in the nation.

At $840 per week, Arizonans receiving the supplemented unemployment are paid the equivalent of $40,320 gross annual wage. Arizona’s median yearly salary in 2018 was $56,213.

State unemployment benefits are funded by employers and employees and paid out of a state-based trust to unemployed workers.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Thursday 2,525 new COVID-19 cases and attributed 172 additional deaths to the disease. The higher-than-typical death count is due to death certificate matching, officials say. Ducey said the state’s hospital capacity metrics have since early July moved downward. The state has not needed to use surge capacity at hospitals nor ICU beds and ventilators. The state’s R0 factor continues to fall, as of yesterday, to 0.9. Anything below 1 means the virus’s spread is slowing.

As of Thursday, state and private laboratories have performed more than 1.1 million tests.

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