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.”