I walked into a store earlier this week and the first thing to catch my eye was a vast display of Christmas merchandise. It’s not the retailers’ fault, but for whatever reason that bothers me. Call me a Grinch, but I’m just not in the holiday mood two months ahead of time.
But Indiana companies and employees received, in one sense, an early present this week — one that is most welcome. Senate Republicans announced their intention to seek a one-year delay in the uemployment insurance tax increases that were passed in April. The governor’s office is supporting the move, and it is hoped that Democrats will agree that the last thing needed in these still slow economic times is more Hoosier job losses.
This has been a top issue for the Chamber throughout the year. And while those involved in the lawmaking process thought at the time that they were offering a reasonable answer to a difficult problem, employer feedback and new analysis showed that wasn’t going to be the case.
After the legislative session, the Chamber documented the tax increases that nearly all Indiana businesses would face over the next two years – thousands of dollars on average, nearly $1.7 million for one company that used our online calculator and nearly $500 million for Hoosier companies in total. We shared the clear message that additional employee layoffs would unfortunately be the only way most could pay for the tax hike. We brought in new, independent analysis to demonstrate that despite more money being taken from businesses and more employee jobs being threatened that the unemployment trust fund deficit would actually increase.
The Chamber will continue to lead the way. No, this delay doesn’t solve the problem of a bankrupt UI trust fund, but that is a challenge that an estimated 40-plus states will soon be facing. There will need to be a federal solution. Now is not the time to take $500 million more from Hoosier companies and their employees without fixing the system.