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NV governor hints at economy reopening, unemployment benefits raise questions

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Posted at 9:13 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 12:07:09-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada authorities are hinting at a plan to reopen the state's economy and major industries as COVID-19 social distancing pays dividends while testing accelerates.

Overall, Gov. Steve Sisolak is praising efforts by Nevadans to slow the spread of the virus.

"As your Governor, I can assure you that we're working on the strongest plan possible to re-open our businesses and our communities, one that will focus on putting the health and safety of Nevadans first and sets us up for a strong economic recovery," said Gov. Sisolak during a news conference Thursday in Carson City.

WATCH: Gov. News Conference Apr. 16, 2020

Gov. Sisolak says a possible plan for reopening could be unveiled next week and it would most likely be one industry at a time.

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"No one wants to get back to business more than I do," said Gov. Sisolak.

"We are a proud state, we are a hard working state," added Gov. Sisolak.

PREVIOUS STORY: Gov. Sisolak orders all nonessential businesses in the state to shut down

State authorities are also grappling with the enormous amount of people who are currently out of work.

On Thursday, the state unemployment office revealed claims rose 2,125 percent in March when compared to the same time period last year.

The unemployment response is also raising some questions.

"There are unintended consequences that politicians aren't necessarily thinking about, just letting people know they're doing something," said Michael Schaus with the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Schaus says the federal government is using a one-size-fits-all approach to the economic crisis.

For example, if you receive the maximum Nevada unemployment benefit of $460 per week and then factor in the additional $600 per week tacked on by the federal government, that adds up to a potential unemployment benefit of more than $4,000 per month.

'You look at Amazon is hiring, grocery stores are looking for workers," said Schaus.

"If all of a sudden, [companies] can't compete with the pay you are receiving with unemployment, that's going to create a lot of strain for a lot of businesses and it'll mean you have a lot of people who have an opportunity to go back and then not, simply because the incentive isn't there and you can't blame them for that," said Schaus.

Schaus says it might be short term gain, long term pain for tax payers.

The government money is borrowed and may create much larger budget problems in the form of large deficits and government interest payments in the future.

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It's also important to note collecting unemployment benefits does not contribute to 401k's or retirement accounts.

Typically, people on unemployment lose their medical, dental and vision insurance.

Unemployment benefits do not last forever.