The state of Massachusetts was allocated roughly $5.3 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act aid that may be used for a myriad of purposes. This is in addition to billions of dollars in federal money that Massachusetts must use for transportation, education, healthcare, and municipalities.
Governor Charlie Baker and the Legislature went back and forth over who actually controls these funds, with a proposal from Baker to use $2.8 billion rejected by lawmakers. One thing is certain, neither the Baker Administration nor legislative leaders have shown any willingness to use the money to help employers replenish the beleaguered unemployment insurance trust fund.
Currently, Massachusetts employers are responsible for paying a nearly $7 billion UI Trust fund deficit over the next 20 years. This major depletion of the fund is due to the large number of COVID-related layoffs in response to last year’s state-mandated shutdown and restrictions. Now, adding insult to injury, Massachusetts is demanding employers pay increased UI taxes to refill the unemployment insurance trust fund.
Nearly 30 states used either federal CARES Act or ARPA funds to help provide UI tax relief for employers. The state of Maryland infused $1.1 billion into their trust fund, but elected officials in Massachusetts have ignored the calls to use the funds for UI.
We once again ask you to contact legislative leaders urging them to use a portion of the federal aid for the UI Trust Fund. The layoffs were not the fault of employers, and the state should share in the responsibility of replenishing the fund. Remember, small businesses had to:
- Close or restrict their operations under orders from the state of Massachusetts.
- Compete with overly generous state UI benefits coupled with the supplemental $600 and $300 federal benefits.
- Pay for millions of dollars in fraudulent UI claims.
Use the following link to contact your elected officials: https://www.votervoice.net/NFIB/21/campaigns/85479/respond