Florida businesses will be forced to pay back the two billion dollars the state is borrowing to pay the unemployed. Unemployment taxes nearly tripled this year and the minimum unemployment tax is scheduled to more double again next year.
Every business in Florida is about to see a tax increase. The increase is needed to repay the 115 million dollars a month the state is borrowing to pay unemployment claims. So far the state has borrowed almost two billion dollars.
Payments on the loan aren’t due until September, but by then the state will owe 61 million dollars in interest alone. To pay the money back Florida’s minimum unemployment tax rose from 25 dollars an employee to 72 this year.
Next year it will skyrocket to nearly 200 dollars. Adam Babington of the Florida Chamber of Commerce calls the increase a jobs killer. “Hopefully, from our prospective, we can work with the legislature to find a way to alleviate the impact of the tax increase and spread it out over time so businesses can continue to try and hire workers.”
Governor Rick Scott is looking for a way to ease the burden on businesses. “We have to really look at it carefully and see how much of an impact it will have on job creation. My whole campaign was how do we get the state back to work? So it’s something I’m going to look at to see how can we keep it as low as we can?”
The House Economic Affairs Committee is reviewing ways to slow the borrowing. Rep. Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange wants to know if people are taking advantage of the system. “We are all in this together. Pointing fingers at each other is not the solution. We need to come to something that’s equitable for everyone.”
The committee is reviewing unemployment records to see if anyone is turning down jobs because they want to keep their unemployment pay. But with Florida’s unemployment benefits among the lowest in the nation; even a minimum wage job would bring in more money.
Florida’s maximum unemployment benefit is 275 dollars a week. The state pays up to 26 weeks, but the federal government offers emergency compensation for up to 99 weeks.