Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

September 11, 2009

No good options — 09/13/09

Unemployment fund deficit may force a business tax hike

As if state government did not already have enough economic headaches comes the not-too-surprising news that the state’s fund that pays unemployment benefits is gushing red ink.

Like most other states, Kentucky currently is borrowing money from the federal government to continue providing assistance to unemployed residents, but barring an economic recovery that includes the creation or restoration of thousands of jobs, the federal unemployment tax on businesses could be automatically increased to start paying back what the state owes the federal government.

With scores of small businesses in this state already eliminating jobs and making other costs in a continuing struggle to survive, an increase in taxes is about the last thing they need. In fact, forcing businesses to pay more to the government is a sure way of curtailing an already weak economic recovery.

Last week Gov. Steve Beshear sent a letter to Kentucky’s congressional delegation asking them to support an extension of emergency unemployment benefits. The emergency benefits are for people who have exhausted tradition unemployment benefits without finding a job. Beshear said almost 123,000 people in Kentucky have claimed emergency unemployment benefits in the past year. The number continues to grow by between 800 and 1,200 each week, the governor said.

Meanwhile, a task force the governor appointed to recommend how to shore up the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund was told things aren’t expected to get much better any time soon.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate stands at 11 percent, according to July data, and averaged 10.1 percent for each month of 2009. Unemployment is up in all 120 Kentucky counties.

Kentucky’s unemployment trust fund indebtedness is likely to grow, Dr. Wayne Vroman of the Urban Institute told the task force last week. It could find itself short by as much as $1 billion over the next several years. The state takes in about $700,000 in taxes annually on employers but has been paying out around $1.2 billion in benefits since the prolonged economic downturn began.

Text Only
Editorials
  • Positive trend

    For those adults who have a low opinion of American teenagers, Uncle Sam’s latest study of worrisome behavior among teens provides some good news: Teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex also are declining — and have been since 1991, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started surveying teens about  their behavior.

    July 24, 2014

  • Research's value

    In pushing for a higher education reform bill in the late 1990s, former Gov. Paul Patton set an ambitious goal of having the University of Kentucky become a Top 20 research university by 2020. UK has yet to accomplish that goal, but UK and the University of Louisville both have made great advances in research in recent years.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deadline is near

    People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.

    July 23, 2014

  • Issue is safety

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball  “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”

    July 23, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • 0518greene.jpeg Greene-Lounsberry

    John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo