With his veto of Senate Bill 673, Gov. Jay Nixon leaves Missouri employers at risk for another massive, job-killing shortfall in the state’s unemployment insurance system.
During the past economic recession, Missouri borrowed more than $1 billion from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits for Missouri workers. Missouri employers have finally repaid that debt at great expense. The provisions in Senate Bill 673 were aimed at ensuring a future economic downturn doesn’t again harm struggling employers with large unemployment insurance fee increases.
“It’s great news for the business community that Missouri employers have finally repaid this debt. The Missouri Chamber is going to watch the numbers closely to ensure the governor’s repayment projection holds true,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “However, our state’s unemployment system remains broken. Missouri is one of only a handful of states that have needed to borrow from the federal government during the last five recessions. Senate Bill 673 would have helped our state avoid borrowing in the future. However, with his veto, Gov. Nixon is again placing our employer community in peril the next time we face a national recession. We ask the General Assembly to finish their work on this bill and override the governor’s veto.”
Senate Bill 673, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Republican from Jefferson City, ties the number of weeks Missourians can receive unemployment benefits to the state unemployment rate. The higher the unemployment rate, the longer Missourians would be able to receive unemployment compensation. The bill also contains an important provision to help Missouri’s employer community get answers as to why state unemployment officials ignored repeated calls from employers to use the state’s bonding ability to repay the unemployment debt at a reduced interest rate, an action that would have saved Missouri employers millions of dollars.