Democrats’ irresponsible UI debt plan a tax on jobs

SPRINGFIELD – An ill-advised plan addressing Illinois’ unemployment insurance debt, forced through this week by Senate and House Democrats, lays the burden of state government’s fiscal irresponsibility at the feet of employers with the guarantee of higher taxes on and cuts in benefits to workers.

State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) says Democrat lawmakers continue to shirk their fiscal responsibilities by not fully paying Illinois’ $4.5 billion unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund deficit. Approved this week along partisan lines, the Majority Party’s plan includes a partial payment of $2.7 billion for the UI debt.

“The Pritzker Administration and Majority Party legislators are the ones who misused the federal funds, spending them on partisan pork projects. And now they are passing the buck – actually, $1.8 billion ‘bucks’ of UI debt – to business,” Stewart said. “Employers and the workers who suffered through Pritzker-ordered shutdowns for so many months should not have to pick up the ticket for a government spending spree.”

Stewart says lawmakers should have used the $8.1 billion Illinois received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to fully pay its unemployment trust fund debt. Instead, the Majority Party has spent billions in federal cash on capital programs and one-time expenses.

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