Florida Unemployment Benefits Increase

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida unemployment compensation benefits are increasing by $25 a week due to federal stimulus funding.

The higher rate went into effect Sunday under an agreement that Gov. Charlie Crist signed with the U.S. Department of Labor.

It'll bring $345 million in federal money to Florida through the end of the calendar year.

Benefits are based on a worker's prior earnings and last year ranged from $32 to $275 per week.

Some of Crist's fellow Republican governors say they may turn down the unemployment cash because they they'd have to raise state taxes to pay for the new benefit when the federal money runs out.

Crist, though, says it's needed to help Floridians get through tough times.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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