Missouri Senate Endorses Unemployment Change

3 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, March 26 2014 Mar 26, 2014 Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:20:23 PM CDT March 26, 2014 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - The amount of time Missourians can receive unemployment benefits would be tied to the state's jobless rate under legislation endorsed by the state Senate on Wednesday.

Under current law, Missouri workers can receive state unemployment checks for 20 weeks after losing their jobs. Supporters said reduction in the duration of unemployment benefits could help the state pay back money it borrowed from the federal government for unemployment claims and prevent similar situations in the future.

Missouri's unemployment trust fund became insolvent in 2009, causing the state to borrow more than $1 billion from the federal government since then to continue paying for benefits.

"This is a mechanism that remains in there should we ever hit this problem again," said sponsoring Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City.

The state still owes about $320 million in debt to the federal government. Some Senate Democrats said they were concerned about the measure, because it would reduce benefits and could make it harder for unemployed Missourians to care for their families.

"We may see more circumstances where people's unemployment benefits run out," said Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis.

Under the Senate bill, a worker could receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 20 weeks and a minimum of 13 weeks. The full 20-week benefit would only occur if the state unemployment rate is higher than 9 percent, which only happened for two years during the last decade.

If the state's rate is less than 6 percent, then Missouri workers would qualify for the minimum 13-week benefit. For every half-percentage point increase in the jobless rate another week of unemployment insurance would be added to a worker's benefit.

Missouri's current unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, which would carry a 14-week benefit if workers began collecting their benefit this month.

George Wentworth, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, said typical jobless benefits last for 26 weeks, but that some states are cutting back. He said nine states currently offer less than that amount, including Missouri which went down to a 20-week maximum in 2011.

"Most of it has been in response to state unemployment trust funds being stressed by the recession and, in many instances, because they were kind of underfinanced going into the recession," he said.

Wentworth added that some states have chosen to cut benefits rather than force employers to pay higher taxes to pay off the debt. Businesses currently pay a monthly $63 fee for every employee. That number would increase to $83 in 2015 if Missouri still owes the federal government, but state officials expect to avoid that hike by paying off the rest of the debt in November.

The Senate legislation also gives the state unemployment trust fund the authority to issue bonds to help pay off more than $300 million in debt, and it raises the cap on how much money can be in the fund at one time.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce praised the legislation's passage as a means to pay off the state's debt.

"We owe it to our employers to establish systemic reforms that will better protect the fund so that we don't have this problem arise the next time the economy dips," chamber President and CEO Dan Mehan said in a written statement.

The state's current labor force is about 3 million people and about 60,000 of those currently receive unemployment benefits. The bill needs one more affirmative vote before moving to the House.

 

More News

Grid
List
BOONVILLE - The gym filled with over 100 people roared with applause and laughter. In the gym, two-year-old Finn Shikles... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 10:41:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri was among a handful of Democrats in the Senate... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 6:19:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of Missourians gathered at the Boone County Courthouse Plaza Saturday to march 10 blocks with the intention... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:20:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One year ago, President Donald Trump was sworn into office, and on Saturday, supporters held a rally... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:00:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - A CNN report that the FBI has opened an inquiry into Gov. Eric Greitens "would not be... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 4:05:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A Jefferson City woman is encouraging people to lock their car doors after she caught a thief... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Members of the community met, adopted and played with cats and kittens Saturday at a Columbia pet store.... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 2:52:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said there was no blackmail or threatened violence in an extramarital... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 1:09:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have made an arrest in a double shooting that left a 46-year-old... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:49:41 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
SEDALIA - The Pettis County prosecutor has issued a warrant for the arrest of a man in connection to the... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:33:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Coyote sightings are becoming more frequent in the St. Louis area, and some are strolling down... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 10:37:36 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The number of confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease in Missouri deer is up, but... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 10:26:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
RICHMOND, Va. - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public's help with identifying a serial robber called... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 9:59:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
CHARITON COUNTY -- Alonzo Bernard Thorpe of Clark, Missouri was found guilty of eight counts of child molestation and two... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 7:38:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the final moments leading up to Friday's midnight deadline, Senate Republicans and Democrats were unable to... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:00:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The FBI recently opened an inquiry into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, two US officials told CNN, as he... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 9:19:05 PM CST January 19, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A visiting MU researcher is working to fight cancer with blueberries - specifically the extract of the fruit.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 8:06:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some facilities in the state may be required to hang posters with information about human trafficking by the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 6:43:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
3am 47°
4am 48°
5am 48°
6am 48°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:30a
Paid Program
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program
2:30a
Paid Program
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Little Big Shots
8:00p
Ellen's Game of Games
9:00p
Ellen's Game of Games
7:00p
Look Who's Talking
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy