INDIANAPOLIS — Right now, Indiana leaders are still trying to determine what President Donald Trump’s series of recent executive orders mean for the state.
There are a lot of unknowns.
Some politicians are questioning the constitutionality of the the president’s actions. However, Indiana Business Research Center Co-director Timothy Slaper said something needed to be done.
“I think it’d be remiss for a president not to move forward,” said Slaper. “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”
As Congress continues going back and forth on another much-needed relief package, President Donald Trump issued an order that would allow employees making under $104,000 a delay in payroll tax.
“That will be deferred from September 1 to December 31,” explained Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “It’s not clear in the executive order whether he can make those deferrals forgivable (which is what his intent is) that may require legislation from congress that could end up in this phase four package.”
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is meeting with Indiana members of congress this week to push that and more in the next phase.
“Including limitations on lawsuits for businesses,” said Brinegar. “We also think it’s important to expand the Payroll Protection Program to non-profits, most of whom are small businesses.”
One of the president’s orders does provide federal student loan borrowers interest-free relief until 2021.
“A lot of those who have recently graduated from college, a lot of the millennials, they still have that hanging over them,” said Slaper.
President Donald Trump’s orders do not protect hoosiers from evictions, according to Prosperity Indiana.
“It really just directs federal agencies to determine if that’s necessary,” said Prosperity’s Policy Director, Andrew Bradley. “It actually provides more confusion because it may provide a false sense of security but there is nothing in here with teeth that prevents any evictions from happening and it provides no assistance.”
Bradley said Congress needs to pass something to help renters.
“Unless there is a moratorium put in place or real emergency rental assistance provided from congress somewhere in between 569,000 to 720,000 hoosiers could end up being evicted,” said Bradley.
He said Indiana’s assistance program and the one provided by the city of Indianapolis is not enough.
“You add those up and you are still left with over 200,000 households that haven’t received any assistance and who could be at risk of eviction and homelessness especially now that federal unemployment assistance is ending,” said Bradley.
President Donald Trump announced a plan for $400 weekly unemployment benefits but the state could end up footing $100 per person from the federal dollars it has already received.
If states don’t chip in 25% of the $400 they could count the first $100 they pay in unemployment benefits toward their share, reducing the total extra amount to $300.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has yet to make a statement on what the state plans to do. He has referred media to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which issued this statement:
“The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is currently assessing the Presidential Memorandum issued on August 8 that allows claimants to receive up to an additional $400 per week in unemployment benefits. DWD is waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to interpret the implementation and funding options available for states. We will update claimants on our website, social media platforms, and directly via claimant communications when additional information is available. Individuals currently filing for unemployment benefits are NOT required to contact DWD to receive the additional payment.”
As for whether President Trump’s executive orders will help Americans, Slaper said it won’t hurt.
“I think it will at least give one a sense of– I’m not in as bad a situation as I would be if this did not happen,” said Slaper.