Monday, April 18, 2011

Unemployment Insurance reform bill moves forward

The bill to change how Colorado funds its Unemployment Insurance program passed on second reading Friday.

House Bill 1288 aims to reform how Colorado’s UI system is financed as the federal government requires Colorado to find alternative revenue sources to pay unemployment benefits when the UI trust fund falls below zero. Currently, Colorado has borrowed over $531 million from the federal government to maintain a balance above zero.

“This bill addresses the need for Colorado to find other ways to manage its unemployment issues without driving the state further into debt,” said Liston, R-Colorado Springs.

Under the state’s current system, small businesses will be charged with an additional surcharge to pay off the debt and the state is charged interest for its federal loans.

Currently, 23 states and territories do not borrow money from the federal government to maintain its their UI system.

“Everyone can agree that paying millions of dollars in debt service to the federal government is not a good use of taxpayer money,” said Liston. “By finding other ways to maintain the fund’s balance, Colorado will lessen its federal debt and lessen the federal government’s hold on our money.”

The measure must receive final approval before moving to the Senate.

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