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Kehoe’s unemployment bill receives initial Senate approval

Senate Bill 673, sponsored by Senator Mike Kehoe (R-6, Cole County), received first round approval by the Senate today.

The version adopted by the Senate included a suggestion we had made: if the state owes the federal unemployment trust fund more than $300 million, the Board of Unemployment Fund Financing must meet and consider the option of issuing bonds to resolve the debt.  The original proposal would have mandated issuance of bonds which may not make financial sense.

Another part of the bill that reduces the number of weeks of unemployment benefits that are payable as the unemployment rate drops is retained in the bill.  AIM certainly supports this part of the bill.  “It only makes sense to reduce the financial assistance to the  unemployed when more jobs are available,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Our employers have encountered problems with potential employees deciding they would rather stay home and collect unemployment than work when they are offered jobs, and this may provide some incentive to take jobs that are available.”

A new provision, and one that is troubling for Missouri employers, would allow the state to retain $120 million more in unemployment funds before reducing unemployment taxes on Missouri employers.  This is, in effect, allowing the government to keep an additional $120 million that could be better used by Missouri employers to stimulate the economy.  We will work to remove this provision as the bill advances.

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