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Missouri House passes legislation to help stabilize Missouri’s unemployment insurance trust fund

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The Missouri House has passed legislation to help stabilize Missouri’s unemployment insurance trust fund.  House Bill 288, sponsored by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, ties the unemployment rate to the weeks unemployment benefits are available to jobless Missourians.  In addition, the bill adjusts employers’ payments into the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund to sustain a balance that can weather economic downturns in order to be able to continue paying benefits without going into debt.

“Missouri’s Unemployment Trust Fund has borrowed money from the federal government during the last five economic downturns, costing employers millions of dollars in interest,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “This bill takes common-sense steps toward stabilizing our system. Employers, who fully fund our unemployment system, would much rather pay what is necessary to sustain claims than pay millions in useless interest charges. At the same time, it makes sense to make more funds available when more Missourians are out of work. This bill strikes a good balance between employers and employees.”

Below is the breakdown of weeks of eligibility and unemployment rates:

  • 20 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is nine percent or higher;
  • 19 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between eight and one-half percent and nine percent;
  • 18 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between eight percent and eight and one-half percent;
  • 17 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between seven and one-half percent and eight percent;
  • 16 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between seven percent and seven and one-half percent;
  • 15 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between six and one-half percent and seven percent;
  • 14 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between six percent and six and one-half percent;
  • 13 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is below six percent.

This legislation is the same as House Bill 150 passed by the General Assembly in the 2015 Legislative Session. The legislation was vetoed by former Gov. Jay Nixon. Although Gov. Nixon’s veto was overridden, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the manner in which it was overridden was unconstitutional and so the legislation never became law.

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