Oroho, Wirths: Benefits will weaken unemployent fund
Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblyman Hal Wirths (both R-24) said that legislation advanced by the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee will weaken New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and put employers at risk of future tax increases.
“At its worst point, New Jersey’s UI Fund was more than $2 billion in the red,” said Oroho. “To address this deficit, we devised and implemented a plan to impose fiscal discipline and eliminate abuses, which restored the UI Fund to solvency while ensuring that unemployment benefits remain available to New Jerseyans who deserve them. I’m concerned that this new legislative effort would undo some of those important reforms and put the UI Fund at risk again, which may lead to increased taxes on employers.”
The new legislation advanced by Democrats would eliminate the category of “severe misconduct” related to an employee’s termination from the provisions of New Jersey’s unemployment compensation law.
If the legislation is enacted, an employee fired for certain types of workplace misconduct would receive increased unemployment benefits following their termination.
Oroho and Wirths served on a bipartisan Unemployment Insurance Task Force which issued a final report on how to address the state’s UI fund deficit in January of 2012.
As the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at the time, Wirths was responsible for addressing the massive UI Fund deficit left by the administration of former Governor Jon Corzine.
“It took us years to undo the mess in the UI Fund that was left to us by the last Democrat governor,” said Wirths. “As a result of our diligent efforts, our UI Fund now has a $2 billion surplus and employer taxes have been cut several times. We shouldn’t allow Governor Murphy to turn our success into failure by allowing the abuse of our unemployment fund once again. We shouldn’t reward people who were fired for severe workplace misconduct at the expense other New Jerseyans who are unemployed through no fault of their own.”
Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24) opposed the Assembly version on Monday in the Assembly Labor Committee.