On multiple occasions, state lawmakers stated that they want to waive unemployment insurance overpayments that were slated to be paid back to the Massachusetts UI Trust Fund. Earlier this year the Boston Globe reported $2.7 billion in UI overpayments made to beneficiaries, the bulk of which was from federal pandemic unemployment assistance, but roughly $300 million was attributable the state UI fund.
There were several efforts earlier this session to waive the overpayments and ensure individuals would not be responsible for paying the excess benefits back, but that means employers are stuck picking up the tab. To remedy this, Governor Baker included $300 million in his economic development package to cover this expense, yet with less than two months left in session, legislative leaders have failed to act.
NFIB continues to urge lawmakers to allocate the $300 million in funds if they indeed want overpayments waived. It is unfair to demand employers pay for this gesture when the state can use either federal aid or excess tax revenue to cover the costs.
This week, the Department of Unemployment Assistance Advisory Board, on which NFIB state director Christopher Carlozzi sits, is scheduled to vote on the emergency regulations allowing the waiver. However, from NFIB’s perspective it will be impossible to support the waiver emergency regulation without the necessary $300 million, as to not further burden employers with higher UI taxes.