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Thursday, June 11, 2009

NHBR- "Senate OKs big unemployment-tax hike"

New Hampshire Business Review reports on the Senate's approval of a hike in unemployment taxes on New Hampshire businesses:

Without debate, the Senate on Wednesday went along a whopping increase in unemployment taxes and a cut in benefits to replenish the shrinking unemployment trust fund.

Gov. John Lynch will sign the bill into law, according to the governor’s spokesman, Colin Manning.

In a party-line, 14-10 roll-call vote, senators voted to increase the taxable wage base by 75 percent across the board by 2012, beginning with a 20 percent increase in January.

The bill also allows for a half-percent unemployment-tax increase, added to a previous increase scheduled to take effect next year. The bill increases taxes on construction firms even more and makes it more difficult for all companies to get a discount when the trust fund is replenished.

Finally, it takes away most workers’ first week of jobless benefits. (Only those unemployed for a longer period and who have totally exhausted their benefits will receive that week’s check.) The change will affect firms that routinely lay off workers for a few weeks, as in the construction industry, or those who furlough workers for a week or so as an alternative to laying off some of them.

This tax hike isn't to increase benefits during a recession. Actually, it cuts them. The Senate also approved legislation that requires unemployment coverage for people who leave thier jobs voluntarily and leave the state in order to be with their spouse.

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