A day after the state halted federal unemployment benefits, they announced a $2.5 million campaign giving free airline tickets to out-of-state tourists.
At the very least, it's terrible optics. On July 4th, the day after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee shut the doors on federal benefits for the state's unemployed (as well as ending extended benefits, and gig worker & self-employed benefits), he announced that 10,000 airline tickets will be given away to tourists.
The campaign, named 'Tennessee On Me' will be distributing 10,000 $250 gift cards to visitors who fly Delta, American, or Southwest Airlines to Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, or Knoxville, and book a 2 night stay. The gift cards are being paid for with Tennessee taxpayer money.
Opponents of the campaign say it not only looks bad, but it also only benefits the four Tennessee cities targeted as destinations, leaving the rest of the state holding the bag.
Lt. Governor Randy McNally, who said he was unaware of the campaign until it started, released a statement saying, "I will be asking the administration...to provide more detail to the legislature about such initiatives...in the future."
Meanwhile, the thousands who have now had their benefits cut, are left trying to find a job for minimum wage or less. While the state continues to harp about the 250,000 job openings on their website, if you're really looking for a job, the results are not that rosey.
As an example, we went to the state's jobs4tn.gov website...entered Jackson Tennessee and a 10 mile radius...checked for job openings from the last 2 weeks...with an income of $40K+...and a requirement of high school diploma or less. The result? 10 job openings. Drop the income to just $20K+ per year, and there were just 60 openings....and even with those jobs, there were specific skills required for the vast majority.
The picture is NOT as it is being painted.
If your family is struggling because you no longer qualify for unemployment, are having difficulty finding family-supporting employment, or the pandemic put you in a financial crisis....call us at the law office of T. Verner Smith.
Through financial restructuring, debt resolution, or legal options including but not limited to bankruptcy, there are ways to relieve the pressure and chart a path to a better future. Don't be embarrassed, don't be hesitant, you are not alone, and taking action now is the smart approach.
Call us at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
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