Gov. John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation asking them to consider funding the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in the current proposal for COVID-19 relief legislation as the last unemployment payment becomes a reality for workers impacted by the pandemic.
“I have very serious concerns about the solvency of the Trust Fund and the need for federal assistance to make sure Louisiana can continue to pay out unemployment benefits without undue burdens on Louisiana businesses. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana’s Unemployment Trust Fund was the 17th strongest in the nation. At our current trajectory, we will have to borrow from the federal government as early as September to replenish the fund to continue paying state unemployment benefits to Louisiana workers. Just as importantly, if the trust fund falls below a balance of $100 million, Louisiana law mandates that the Louisiana Workforce Commission to impose a surtax on businesses of up to 30% on taxable payroll. This would be a last resort but without congressional intervention, it will almost certainly be necessary to ensure the trust fund stays solvent. This assistance will give our workers the bridge they need to return to work, while ensuring that Louisiana businesses are able to focus their efforts on recovering safely from the COVID-19 pandemic.”