SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Following weeks of negotiation with labor and business, state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, passed the first step of a bipartisan plan Thursday that will eliminate the state’s remaining $1.36 billion in unemployment insurance loan debt while also investing in the state’s rainy-day fund.
“This agreement brings long-term security to workers and employers across Illinois,” Hoffman said. “The pandemic brought unparalleled instability, but together we were able to put aside differences and develop solutions that have helped working families weather this storm. This agreement will save business over $900 million over the next five years and will maintain the same level of benefits for unemployed workers.”
Hoffman led passage of Senate Bill 1698, which carries out the functions necessary to ensure the long-term health of the Unemployment Trust Fund by increasing the Target Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance, increasing the Taxable Wage Base and setting out the terms for an interest free $450 million loan to be made to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to be paid back starting in 2024. Money paid back from the loan will be directed toward the state’s rainy-day fund. Additionally, Senate Bill 1698 pushes back statutory hurdles that would have automatically raised taxes on employers and cut benefits for claimants. The remaining unemployment insurance loan debt and the $450 million loan will be appropriated in January to conclude the second and final step of the bipartisan plan to ensure the long-term health of Illinois’ unemployment insurance system.
Senate Bill 1698 passed with bipartisan support and heads to the governor for final approval.
“This measure builds on the significant, positive financial steps we have taken for our state,” Hoffman said. “Particularly in this economic climate, we must remain vigilant and continue to work together to support working families.”