SB 2203: UI Surcharge - The Senate Floor Vote
For GNDC, a red vote is not always a bad thing; sometimes a full board of red votes is a win.
On Feb 12, SB 2203 was defeated during a Senate vote. This bill is related to unemployment insurance (UI) and would have placed a 10% surcharge on employers who carry a negative balance within a calendar year. Meaning, employers that repeatedly utilize the UI fund to retain their workforce/lay-off employees would have been penalized. Employers that typically rely on this fund are construction, hospitality, retailers, and other seasonal-related positions/employers. It is available to all employers but some industries rely on the program due to the weather patterns/conditions of our state.
GNDC was in opposition to this bill. Upon reviewing the state of North Dakota's UI system during the interim, the UI Advisory Board recommended that lawmakers should not alter the program. We support this review and the current UI practices that have been working for business.
SB 2203 received bipartisan opposition.
CHAMBER CHAMPION SPOTLIGHT
SEN. JERRY KLEIN
Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee, Senator Klein recently stood to respond to the current state of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund. GNDC appreciates Senator Klein's diligence and attention to the unemployment system.
"The [unemployment insurance] fund is right where we had intended it to be; it has met its goals. I think I heard someone say, only the negative balance employers were there to testify in opposition [to 2203]. Mr. President, the North Dakota Chamber is not just negative balance employers, they are made up of businesses all over. There were other positive balance employers that were there.
Mr. President, I think today we would all agree that working outside might not be as much fun or be enjoyed as much as during the summer. Our winters are brutal. For us to suggest that we can work year-round in North Dakota in a lot of our jobs, it's just not going to happen.
Mr. President, we have worked hard over the last 20 years to create a fair way of taking care of positive balance employers and a fair way of taking care of the negative balance employers. This is insurance, let’s use the analogy. My family isn't sick, hasn't been sick - I bet I have quite a reserve related to health insurance. But there are families, who for no reason of their own, that have had an injured child or an injury to the family. They ultimately will take a lot of dollars out of the health insurance system. That's why we call it insurance. That's why we spread risk. … Mr. President, I'm recommending a red light."
Senator Jerry Klein - District 14