(Lansing, MI) – Today the State Senate passed legislation (HB 4408) which will extend an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits retroactively to 150,000 long-term unemployed individuals whose benefits ran out at the end of the year.
The legislation also reduces the amount of time a person can collect state unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks and puts in place new anti-fraud measures expected to save the state between $100 and $150 million per year. State Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) voted for the bill.
“This legislation addresses one of the many factors driving up the cost of doing business in Michigan which is high unemployment taxes on job providers,” Colbeck said. “The U.S. Congress has already voted to increase the federal unemployment insurance tax so this bill allows us to rein in the costs to Michigan businesses for unemployment liability. The result of the bill is a net savings to Michigan businesses so that they can create more jobs.
“The bill also provides extra protections for those who are currently struggling to find employment while our unemployment rate remains over 10%.”
Under the bill, those people already receiving unemployment will not be affected by the reduction in state benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. The legislation will also help alleviate a $3.9 billion deficit in the state’s unemployment trust fund.
At least 37 other states have already opted in to receive the extended federal benefits. If Michigan fails to act now, our residents will not receive the extension but our businesses will still see increased costs to pay for the extensions in other states.
“This is not a perfect bill. A perfect bill would be one that eliminates unemployment insurance altogether because everyone is working. However, we cannot create jobs if we don’t reduce the total cost of operations for Michigan’s businesses and this bill offers a starting point with that reduction,” Colbeck concluded.