At one point, Massachusetts had the highest unemployment rate in the county and the highest in generations. All the businesses that survived will now be faced with a massive debt liability in the form of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund. Even if businesses kept all their employees and didn’t let anyone go, they still have to pay. The debt would be paid out by every business over the next 20 years. So even future businesses will have to pay.
Now, businesses are calling on Governor Baker to use federal pandemic money to reimburse the UI Fund. Their message to Governor Baker is simple, “you broke it, you bought it.” Governor Baker mandated nearly 55 orders and restrictions that in turn, caused these massive layoffs, while the legislature sat on their hands. The Governor and legislature should now use federal funds to fix the problem they created. If these businesses are abandoned once again, the government mandates over the last 500 days will be felt for the next 20 years.
While Governor Baker’s actions depleted the UI fund, the UI fund was never equipped to handle an event like the pandemic. Massachusetts pays THE HIGHEST unemployment benefit rate in the country. We also have the most lenient eligibility requirements, the highest number of weeks available for payout, and are one of only 13 states to offer dependent benefits as well. And employers are on the hook to pay it all.
The UI fund is not unique in its bloated generosity. Without reforms, the UI fund will continue to be a liability for our state’s struggling business community.
Please complete our Call to Action and urge Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and your legislators to provide UI relief. They need to hear from you. It is important that these State House leaders use the federal pandemic money to pay for the unemployment they created. They broke it, and they should fix it.