Michigan unemployment on the decline

LANSING—Michigan dropped six spots in November to the 10th highest unemployment rate among states, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued Tuesday.

The 0.8 percentage point decline to a 9.8 percent jobless rate was the largest improvement in the employment rate in the country during the month of November.

“Christmas came early for Michigan businesses this year,” said state Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township. “This decline in unemployment is an indicator that the steps the Legislature have taken are starting to improve the business climate in Michigan. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of good news for Michigan businesses; I look forward to the day when Michigan is the model for business across the country.”

Brandenburg named most conservative state senator

LANSING—State Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, was named the most conservative member of his caucus Wednesday by the Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) newsletter.

Brandenburg posted a 97 percent conservative voting record based on 33 record roll call votes selected by MIRS and calculated by an online tool that is available to the public at www.michiganvotes.org.

“If I had to describe my feelings in one word, the word would be ‘proud,’” said Brandenburg. “I ran as a conservative and promised the voters of my district I would uphold conservative principles and ideals. This ranking proves that I kept my promise.” 

Unemployment reforms pass Senate

LANSING— Legislation designed to reduce fraud and reform the unemployment system passed the Senate on Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Jack Brandenburg.

“Government cannot create jobs, however, it can create an environment where businesses are better positioned to grow and hire new employees,” said Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township. “This measure equips businesses with the tools to do just that.”

Senate Bill 806 includes reforms that will deter fraud, prevent overpayments, and encourage workers to seek employment before exhausting benefits. The bill also limits the ability of a person who was fired for cause or who left a job voluntarily from collecting unemployment benefits.

SB 806 is part of the package that includes SBs 483 and 484, which would repay Michigan’s debt to the federal unemployment insurance system and help maintain solvency through bonding.

SBs 483 and 484 take advantage of Michigan’s upgraded bond rating in order to foster an environment where jobs can be created and current companies can expand.

If the Legislature does not act, Michigan employers will be faced with a seemingly endless burden of increased taxes, interest and penalties until the federal debt is paid. Without action, Michigan’s trust fund will be indebted to the federal government until 2018 and will not have a sufficient balance until 2022.

“This package of legislation eliminates a 50 percent unemployment tax increases which would have been levied by the federal government next year and restores a balance to the state unemployment fund,” said Brandenburg. “A debt-free, more efficient system has been created which will encourage growth and remove hurdles for employers.”