Washington is the first and only state in the nation to reduce unemployment insurance rates for employers. Many other states are facing bankrupt UI trust funds brought on by skyrocketing unemployment, forcing them into tax increases for employers to sustain their benefit levels.
The bill was prompted by a non-conformity issue with federal law, which could have led to higher tax rates for businesses. This bill as passed by the House:
- Uses the ample funds in the UI trust fund to mitigate the cost of federal conformity - a $452 million price tag – so employers are not forced to pay that cost.
- Provides a permanent tax break for businesses in the form of lower tax rates. Over the next six years, businesses will see their tax rate decrease, saving them an estimated $224 million.
- Includes a modest increase to the weekly benefit amount given to unemployed workers in Washington, and authorizes greater discretion to the commissioner of the state Employment Security Department to grant benefits in situations when a worker voluntarily quits.
Now on the floor - the transportation budget.