Senate Freezes Unemployment Insurance Rate to Relieve Small Business Burden and Encourage New Jobs

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BOSTON – In an effort to relieve economic burdens on small businesses and encourage the creation of new jobs, State Senator Jamie Eldridge on Thursday voted to freeze the Unemployment Insurance rate, which was scheduled to increase by nearly $300 per employee. Without the freeze, the average employer would see the per-employee payment jump from $584 to $852.

“The Senate is focused on doing everything we can to help create jobs here in Massachusetts. By freezing the Unemployment Insurance rate this year, we can prevent an added cost that would have made it more difficult for small businesses to grow and add jobs,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton).

The Senate bill to freeze the Unemployment Insurance rate would hold steady the current rate schedule for Unemployment Insurance assessments on employers for calendar year 2010, while still providing unemployment insurance benefits to out of work Massachusetts citizens who are struggling in the continuing national economic crisis. In previous recessions the state has frozen the assessment schedule to relieve the burden on small businesses in tough economic times. The years 2008 and 2003 are the most recent examples.

Eldridge noted that the state may, in the future, need to revisit how the state funds the Insurance Trust.  “To ensure long-term economic stability for the people of Massachusetts, both employers and employees, we need to be careful as a state to avoid putting off our obligations to our citizens and make sure everyone, including corporations, pays their fair share towards unemployment insurance,” said Eldridge. “But at a time when we are trying to encourage small businesses to add jobs in a tough economy, this temporary freeze makes sense.”

The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives for further action.

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