Polis rejects GOP delegation request to end unemployment benefit

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FILE - In this March 9, 2021, file photo, Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE – In this March 9, 2021, file photo, Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has rejected a request by Colorado’s Republican congressional delegation to stop paying jobless residents $300 extra a week in federal pandemic relief.

The GOP representatives argue the payment, scheduled to run through Sept. 6, is hurting business by deterring unemployed workers from seeking jobs.

U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn, Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert noted in a Friday letter to Polis that Colorado restaurants and numerous other firms are struggling to hire workers. Many states led by Republican governors have ended the supplemental benefit.

“We have to stop paying people that should be working to sit at home on the couch,” Boebert said in a statement. “It’s well past time for the government to end COVID bonuses and stop disincentivizing work.”

Colorado Politics reports that Polis rejected the proposal, arguing in part that the benefit is helping business.

“If Colorado ended these benefits prematurely, it would harm individuals, business owners, and the broader economy,” he wrote.

Colorado is offering its own cash incentives for job seekers. A “Jumpstart” program rewards those getting hired by month’s end with up to $1,600 in incentives.

The state labor department reports that some 3,800 new claims for regular state benefits were filed last week, the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began.

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