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BCW Joins Group Urging State to Address Deficit in Unemployment Insurance Fund  

More than 50 business organizations statewide, including the Business Council of Westchester, sent a letter to Albany lawmakers this week urging the State to allocate at least two to three billion dollars to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to address the increased taxes on all businesses and the state’s outstanding debt.

“Nearly two years after the start of the pandemic, employers, particularly small businesses, continue to face unprecedented challenges. Every sector and industry are confronted with severe labor shortages, rising inflation, and supply chain disruptions while also managing the losses, uncertainty, and unpredictability stemming from COVID-related restrictions and ever-changing public health guidance,” read the letter

The letter noted a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses that showed that 63 percent of small businesses have not seen their sales volume return to pre-COVID levels and 66 percent anticipate that their local community will not return to pre-crisis level of economic activity until sometime in the second half of 2022 or later.

The pandemic completely upended the Unemployment Insurance system. New York’s actions to shut down non-essential businesses and impose restrictions resulted in massive layoffs. The private sector shed more than 1.7 million jobs in March 2020, driving unemployment from 4.4 percent to 16.2 percent.

According to the letter, extraordinary amounts of money flowed out of New York’s UI Trust Fund to satisfy claims, and the State needed to borrow more than $11 billion from the federal government. The outstanding loan and completely depleted UI Trust Fund have forced all employers into the highest employer contribution rates allowable under New York’s UI tax tables, meaning all businesses are paying the highest possible UI tax rate related to the fund balance.

“As a business community, we are eager to be a collaborative partner with all of our elected leaders to address the state’s UI deficit and high employer tax levels. This is a grave issue that demands the State’s attention – inaction will only delay New York’s economic recovery,” said the business leaders

 

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