A bill filed Friday would raise weekly Delaware unemployment payments from $400 to $450 and, for one year only, save state companies $50 million in 2023 by using state funds to pay unemployment tax increases.
House Bill 49 filed by Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, said Delaware already is paying less in unemployment than neighboring states and that the maximum amount of the payments has not been changed since 2019.
The bill will be heard by the House Labor Committee — which Osienski chairs — Tuesday at 1 p.m. Livestream it here.
Osienski declined Monday to comment on the bill.
RELATED STORY: House moves to block federal taxes on state rebate checks
RELATED STORY: Disabled veteran tax bill moves to House, amid concerns
Rep. Mike Ramone, R-Pike Creek, said he hadn’t seen the bill, but he found it interesting that the idea is being floated now.
“At this time, many businesses are significantly understaffed,” said the House Minority leader. “Why would we motivate people more to stay out of a work force? There are plenty of jobs.”
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is opposed to the bill and will testify against it at Tuesday’s hearing, said Tyler Micik, director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the chamber.
The bill said it would make sure that employer payments don’t change by using funds from the Unemployment Trust Fund.
That fund was depleted by the surge of pandemic related unemployment claims, but Gov. John Carney used federal pandemic funds to replace them, the bill summary said.
There is enough money in the trust fund to offer unemployment tax relief measures to Delaware employers by reducing new employer tax rates, reducing or holding constant overall employer tax rates, and reducing the maximum earned rate during the calendar year 2023, the bill says.
The bill will also temporarily simplify the tax rate schedules that are used to calculate unemployment assessments paid by employers.
The state Department of Labor has estimated that the tax assessment changes will reduce the tax obligation of employers an estimated $50 million in 2023, the bill summary said.
If the bill passes and is signed into law by Carney, it will be in effect retroactively to Jan. 1, 2023, and expire Dec. 31. 2023, the bill says.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
Share this Post