(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Egan, Elease Evans, Nellie Pou and John Wisniewski to protect New Jersey’s unemployment benefits fund for workers while also helping businesses was advanced Monday by a Senate panel.
The bill (A-3819) was approved 76-0 by the Assembly on May 9 and advanced Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. It’s slated for a Thursday vote by the full Senate.
The bill helps solidify the Unemployment Insurance Fund and reduces the mandated unemployment insurance tax rates that will be imposed on employers during fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
Employers tax liability would be cut from $300 per worker to $100 per employee on average, generating a savings of $450 million for New Jersey businesses
“Preserving a healthy and viable unemployment trust fund while ensuring continued assistance for out-of-work New Jerseyans and keeping New Jersey as an affordable place to do business is a sacred trust and an absolute must,” said Egan (D-Middlesex). “This measures is an important toward a stronger New Jersey for workers and businesses alike.”
The legislation implements recommendations made by the Governor’s UI Task Force and is supported by groups such as the New Jersey AFL-CIO, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
“We know that we need a responsible way to return the unemployment fund to solvency,” said Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen). “At the same time, we know that though the economy has begun to recover, companies are still struggling to keep their doors open. We knew we had to act to fix this because we understand that they simply cannot afford a massive tax hike.”
“This reform bill will deliver long-term stability to the unemployment fund when solvency is realized and eliminate the short-term tax change unpredictability that has complicated New Jersey employers’ business planning,” said Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “In short, this bill will give businesses the certainty they need to hold on to their employees as they plan and budget for the future.”
“Helping businesses and replenishing the unemployment fund in the least disruptive way possible is necessary, prudent and the right thing to do,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)). “We worked closely with the business community to get this done, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of each and every New Jersey worker.”
The bill would mainly:
- Reduce the unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates that would be imposed on employers during fiscal years 2012 and 2013; and
- Modify, for all years after FY 2011, the UI trust fund reserve ratios which set employer UI tax rates in such a manner that larger reserves are required in the UI trust fund than under the current law before employer UI taxes are reduced.