Missouri Chamber Seeks Legislation To Ease Unemployment Insurance Costs

Layoffs and unemployment photo illustration | Photo illustration by Nicole Lunger
Photo illustration by Nicole Lunger

Missouri is one of 14 states in which employers will be paying more next year for unemployment insurance, and the Missouri Chamber says that increase will add up. Missouri borrowed federal dollars in 2008 to pay unemployment benefits the state couldn’t cover. That debt hasn’t been paid, and so the state’s employers are losing tax credits that counted toward what they pay for unemployment insurance. That translates to an increase in what employers pay per employee from $42 to $63.

Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs Brendan Cossette says until the $308-million debt is paid off, the unemployment insurance rate will continue to increase. He projects it will reach $84 per employee in 2015.

One way the Chamber and some lawmakers have sought to pay the debt down faster is through legislation. In the 2014 session, Cossette expects there to be a bill allowing a bond to pay off the debt and a bill similar to one defeated this year that changes the definition of worker misconduct, which in turn would reduce the amount of people that are getting unemployment benefits if they had been discharged because of misconduct.

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