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North Country Lawmakers and Business Owners Call on State to End Unemployment Insurance Interest Surcharge

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New York state faces legislation to pay off federal loans to fund unemployment insurance funds during the pandemic. North Country legislators are asking the state to allocate higher-than-anticipated revenues to pay the bills, rather than impose additional fees on businesses, local governments and nonprofits.

In June, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli published an Update on New York’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic led to record unemployment insurance claims, and New York had to borrow from the federal government because it didn’t have enough money, according to a Democratic report. is. The state paid off his $1.2 billion in loans, but still has his $8.1 billion balance due by Nov. 10, 2022.

Democratic Rep. D. Billy Jones, representing the 115th District, says the state needs to act.

“Companies are being hit by the interest rate surcharge,” Jones said at a news conference on Aug. 8. So here in North he won’t be handed over to small business owners and organizations across the country and New York State. ”

Jones says even if companies didn’t lay anyone off during the pandemic, they would still have to pay extra.

“New York State, we’ve already hit the cap on how much we charge small businesses, and that’s where this assessment comes in. So we need to help small businesses here. They’re still struggling, and on top of this they’re imposing an interest rate valuation surcharge.”

State comptroller’s report says state unemployment insurance tax rates vary by employer’s salary, with an additional federal tax of $21 per employee if the November bill is not paid .

The West Side Ballroom is a wedding and conference venue located at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Executive director Robin Pearce said it was almost completely closed during the pandemic and that business was just beginning to return to normal.

“New York State now imposes additional fees to pay off interest on unemployment claims,” ​​Pearce said. “But it wasn’t due to the actions of the employer. It was due to the actions of the government. We shouldn’t be held responsible for paying any shortfalls caused by the actions of the government. I am in New York State.” Instead of imposing this surcharge, we ask that you do your due diligence and try to find income to cover this interest.”

New York State’s 2022-23 budget did not include state or federal funds to pay federal loans, Jones said. He says there are several sources of income the state can use to pay off its debts.

“We’ve seen revenues from state sales taxes and other tax revenues exceed our expectations. Last year we legalized gambling in some ways and forms, and those revenues have far exceeded our expectations.” “So we have some money to pay off and offset this interest that is coming due,” Mr. Jones said.

Garry Douglas, chairman of the North Country Chamber, mentions another source of funding that the state can access.

“At least 32 states are using some of the federal COVID relief funds to service this debt. New York has not yet opted for it. ‘ said Douglas. States have mandated layoffs and received federal assistance to address the impact of layoffs and shutdowns. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate than ever for states to step in and use their available resources to address what they did especially when that happened? We continue to talk about the need to foster future recovery and growth. ”