BELLEVILLE, Ill. – The first step in a bipartisan plan negotiated by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, that will protect worker benefits, save employers money, pay off Illinois’ unemployment insurance loan debt and improve the state’s financial outlook was signed Thursday.
“This plan is the result of robust negotiation with business and labor,” Hoffman said. “To the credit of negotiators, they put aside differences to deliver an agreement that brings stability and supports workers and small business owners in every community. I’m optimistic that we can continue to work together in good faith to prioritize working families.”
Hoffman led passage of Senate Bill 1968, the first step in an agreement that aims to eliminate the state’s remaining $1.36 billion in unemployment insurance debt while saving businesses $900 million over the next five years and protecting benefits for unemployed workers.
Senate Bill 1698 works to push back statutory hurdles related to unemployment insurance that were expected to raise taxes on employers and cut benefits for claimants. It also carries out the actions 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 to the state’s rainy-day fund.
Additional action to appropriate funding for the $450 million loan and unemployment insurance loan debt is expected to take place in January.
“This plan brings needed stability and puts our state in a stronger position to deal with fiscal challenges moving forward,” Hoffman said. “I am appreciative of the work from every stakeholder involved, and look forward to passage of the remaining components of this agreement.”