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Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation system offers an important layer of protection for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. However, extensions of unemployment benefits that were designed to help displaced workers during the recession required the Department of Labor to borrow more than $3.9 billion from the federal government to provide extended benefits. The terms of this loan currently forces Pennsylvania businesses to pay an additional surcharge to the federal government and miss out on valuable federal tax credits. I recently supported passage of a new law that will help businesses and employees across the commonwealth by satisfying this debt and ensuring the long-term solvency of state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
The new law includes a number of reforms to protect the solvency of Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and avoid the need for additional borrowing in the future. The legislation will require a larger monetary reserve in the state Trust Fund to prevent businesses from paying higher surcharges during an economic downturn. The new law would adjust the amount of money claimants can make at a part-time job without a reduction of benefits and includes new anti-fraud measures to ensure claimants do not receive benefits they haven’t earned. The new law would also create a new Re-employment Fund to help those who are affected by these changes and create an Unemployment Compensation amnesty program for claimants who have received overpayments and businesses that have failed to make the proper contributions to the system.
It is important to note that this new law will not reduce unemployment benefits for current beneficiaries. It only limits annual increases in the maximum allowable benefit in future years and ensures applicants only receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
To repay the current debt to the federal government, Act 60 of 2012 also authorizes the Commonwealth to borrow up to $4.5 billion in a bond issue. The bond would be repaid through the use of existing employer contributions. Erasing this debt and reforming the system will help ensure the UC Trust Fund remains solvent for employees and shields employers against additional charges from the federal government during times when they can least afford to pay.
Brubaker Invites District Residents to Design Holiday Cards
When I have the opportunity to meet and interact with members of local communities, I am always impressed with the considerable talent and creativity that exists in our region. To help highlight these tremendous gifts, I am inviting local residents to submit artwork and holiday greetings to be included in my 2012 holiday cards. I hope that this invitation will encourage local residents to showcase their talents for a broad audience this holiday season.
The winning design and holiday greeting will be included in the cards and featured on my website. The submission period is open now and will run through September 7. The winning entry will be announced in mid-September. Entries can be mailed to or dropped off at my Lititz office at 301 E. Main Street, Lititz, PA 17543 or submitted online. No taxpayer dollars will be used to print or mail the cards.
For more information on issues of importance to Lancaster and Chester County residents, please visit my website at www.senatorbrubaker.com.