Published June 17, 2011
Negotiators in the House-Senate budget conference committee agreed late Thursday to earmark $146 million to begin repaying the federal government the $900 million it borrowed when the state’s unemployment benefits trust fund was exhausted during the Great Recession.
The Senate originally earmarked $100 million for the purpose, and the House later raised the figure to $146 million. The budget that emerges from the conference committee still must be approved by the full House and Senate and approved by the governor to become law.
The $146 million would allow taxes employers pay to support the unemployment benefits system to be reduced by about 24% from levels set Jan. 30. Because of the soaring demand for unemployment benefits during the recession, and the necessary borrowing from the federal government to keep the system afloat, taxes on employers have soared as much as 800%.
Gov. Nikki Haley already has signed into law bill H.3762, so-called enabling legislation, which establishes rules for the budget bill.
“We believe this bill will keep companies from laying off thousands of employees and allow them to start hiring thousands of folks back to work,” John DeWorken, who has represented staffing companies and other large employers on the issue, said Wednesday regarding the enabling legislation.