NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee says a bipartisan financial stimulus accountability group is working together to figure out how they will spend billions of federal relief dollars coming to the state through the CARES Act.
“We also want to set aside funds to make sure we maintain our unemployment insurance trust fund, sufficient to provide unemployment benefits to many Tennesseans who have found themselves without a job,” Governor Lee stated Tuesday.
News 4 reached out to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to find out how much money remains in the State’s Unemployment Trust Fund.
The Department says the State’s Unemployment Trust Fund’s ending balance in April was $1,141,275,995.
It’s why the Governor’s accountability group is trying to spend federal dollars wisely and in the right place.
“We want to use this funding to have created innovative ways to give relief to business owners who are employing those Tennesseans and how have been especially hit by closures as a result of COVID-19,” Governor Lee said.
During these unprecedented times, the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development has used millions of dollars to help the unemployed.
The state has paid over 300,000 people their claims so far.
Just over $66 million paid so far comes from the Trust Fund.
“I don’t know really what else to do to go from here,’ Smyrna resident David McManus tells News 4.
McManus has been on the waiting list to get his unemployment for weeks.
“Five hours of waiting time the other day to do it...just to get the same information we’re already getting so that didn’t give me any leeway either,” McManus said.
McManus hopes state leaders not only keep the funds full, but improve communication for those still left in the dark.
“From personal experience, I am a little bit lucky that despite the fact of not getting unemployment, I do have some savings that helps me get through this. But I know there’s other people out there that’s not as fortunate as me. And this is really bad,” McManus said.
The Governor and the Department of Labor are trying to monitor this the best way possible. If those funds go below $1 billion dollars, the state may have to ask businesses to increase their own contributions to the fund, something the state wants to avoid.