Reducing the tax liability of Missouri’s unemployment system is another measure that would provide broad-based relief to all Missouri employers. Following the last recession, Missouri borrowed millions of dollars from the federal government to cover claims the state fund was unable to pay. Missouri employers, who fund the state’s unemployment insurance system, were required to pay millions of dollars more in additional penalties and interest. This summer, Missouri’s outstanding federal debt was finally repaid. Missouri was one of the last states to pay off its debt. Missouri is the only state that has had to borrow federal money during the last five recessions.
“Missouri employers bear the weight of this problem, because employers fully fund the system through federal and state UI taxes. Employers have every right to demand a more cost-effective and stable system with greater measures of accountability to root out fraud,” Mehan said.
The Missouri Chamber will work to implement stricter standards for workers who can access the system. The Missouri Chamber also will push for legislation to tie the unemployment rate to number of weeks unemployment benefits will be paid. These moves could help provide long-term stability for the fund in the future so that the system can serve the workers it was designed to protect – people unemployed by no fault of their own.
Several states have taken common-sense steps toward stemming the tide of unemployment insurance debt. In the last two legislative sessions, the Missouri Chamber has successfully advocated passage by the General Assembly of similar measures. Some of these provisions were vetoed by Gov. Nixon.