During past economic recessions, Missouri took on massive debt to pay out unemployment benefits. This cost employers millions in interest in addition to what they usually paid into the state’s unemployment fund. On March 25, a House committee passed a bill to shore up the fund and help prevent such debt in the future.
Rep. Justin Hill’s House Bill 217 increases the fund’s minimum balance before employer contributions are lowered and, when necessary, requires the fund’s finance board to meet to consider issuing bonds instead of borrowing federal money at steep interest rates. The bill also ties weeks of benefits to the state unemployment rate, providing more weeks of benefits during a recession and fewer weeks when jobs are plentiful.
The Missouri Chamber will continue to support this bill as it advances through the legislative process. Read our previous coverage about this topic.