Delaware Raising Unemployment Benefits Pro or Con?

Posted on 01-22-2023

Only three states have a higher unemployment rate than Delaware.

Raising unemployment benefits will only exacerbate our states workforce shortage.

Betsy Price Writes:

House Bill 49, sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, received yes votes from all nine attending committee members and had little comment from members or the public.

It now goes to the full House.

Osienski introduced the bill Friday heading into the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and immediately scheduled it in the Labor Committee, which he chairs.

He seemed at the start of the meeting to expect it to sail through, instructing committee members about how to sign on as co-sponsors when they were signing the bill backer before making other comments.

“This bill is time sensitive,” he said. “We want to get this done and through both chambers and on to the governor’s desk by the end of January.”

Bill would raise unemployment from $400 to $450 a week.

Using Unemployment Trust Fund

But the break for employers would only be for one year.

The bill would authorize the state Department of Labor to use money from the Unemployment Trust Fund, which is normally funded from a portion of employer-paid taxes.

That fund was depleted during the pandemic, but Gov. John Carney used $400 of federal COVID-19 relief money to replenish it, Osienski said.

Unemployment

RICH COLLINS

“We want to make sure the employers are getting the tax assessment decrease retroactive by Jan. 1, 2023,” Osienski said.

Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, wanted to know why the state would pay more money to keep people off a job.

Darryl Scott of the Department of Labor said that most workers on unemployment are only paid 56% of the salary they had been earning. Other states pay up to 66%, he said.

Therefore, Scott said, there’s no incentive for a worker to stay on unemployment when the worker is only making about half of what he or she had been making before.

“I will tell you that it’s not something that individuals choose to do,” Scott said.

The state pays unemployment for 26 weeks. In December, it was paying 4,000 people.

Collins also wanted to know the impact using state funds would have.

Scott said the trust fund is considered solvent when it has at least $270 million. At $400 million, it easily could be used to pay the employer portion of any additional tax….(( Bill to raise unemployment payments blows through committee (delawarelive.com))


But wait, there’s more to this point both Better Delaware and Rep. Collins have questioned:

Delaware is in the middle of a workforce crisis, while our state continues to keep eligible workers in government dependency at record levels.

https://www.thecentersquare.com/delaware/delaware-s-medicaid-enrollment-sits-at-just-over-300-000/article_1a9601b4-8dd6-11ed-ae13-5f539a525dab.html

Thank you for the contrabulations from Better Delaware and Delaware Live