Connecticut Small Business Owners Thankful For ARPA Funding To Unemployment Trust
NFIB, or the National Federation of Independent Business here in Connecticut, is grateful for the legislature’s initial action to commit a significant portion federal relief funds to address Connecticut’s unemployment debt crisis. Today, the Appropriations Committee recommended spending $310 million of the American Rescue Plan Act, $2.6 billion in money that the federal government has given to Connecticut to recover from the pandemic, to replenish the Connecticut’s unemployment trust fund.
“Today’s proposal by the Appropriations Committee to dedicate over $300 million to Connecticut’s unemployment fund will greatly help lower the unemployment insurance tax burden in the future and for that small business owners are thankful,” said Andrew Markowski, NFIB State Director in Connecticut. “Many states have had their unemployment insurance trust funds depleted, including Connecticut, where the fund is down almost 90% from a year ago, but the legislature’s action today is very encouraging as it proposes to pay back a large portion of the debt burden. As negotiations between the Governor and legislative leadership continue, small businesses are optimistic that lawmakers can be united around the need to dedicate a significant portion of the federal dollars to the state’s unemployment fund.”
Small business owners have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Connecticut has recovered just 58% of the 292,400 jobs lost last March and April to COVID-related shutdowns and restrictions. The state’s unemployment rate is 8.5%, New England’s highest and well above the U.S. rate of 6.2%.
Connecticut’s unemployment trust fund, which was decimated by the pandemic, has already borrowed over $725 million from the federal government. Small business owners, who have done everything they can to keep paying their employees and keep them safe, will be shouldered with the responsibility for paying back this debt through future tax increases. Without a significant infusion of money into the state’s unemployment trust fund, small business owners will be faced with tax hikes and higher costs to pay back the debt at a time they can least afford it.