Back in April, we reported on a proposed reduction to unemployment insurance benefits moving through the Missouri legislature. At that time, the bill – which would have limited the number of weeks eligible claimants could receive benefits – had support from the Republican-controlled House and Senate. In fact, it was on the way to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk for approval.

That is where it has stalled, however, as Nixon recently vetoed the bill. Now, it is headed back to the legislature, which has a chance to override the veto if it gets enough votes.

Nixon turns away legislation
The core of this bill would have saved Missouri a significant sum on its unemployment insurance costs. At the moment, local claimants can receive benefits for up to 20 weeks. If the bill passed, it would tie these weeks to the jobless rate, reducing them to as little as 13 weeks.

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, the unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent in February. The Associated Press noted that the rate would have to top 9 percent for claimants to get 20 weeks of benefits under the proposed legislation.

Supporters of the bill recently received more ammunition thanks to news from North Carolina. There, the state paid off its UI debt to the federal government early, in part due to a piece of legislation that also capped benefit weeks. In Missouri, Nixon vetoed a similar bill in 2014, but that one couldn’t get enough votes for an override in the legislature.

Nixon cites economy as one reason for veto
There are reasons for both support and opposition of the Missouri unemployment insurance bill.

From an employer standpoint, the law would result in cost savings. Employers pay higher taxes if the state is in UI debt to the federal government, and employers also miss a tax credit if their state owes money, according to The AP.

On the other hand, Nixon pointed to the economy and a tough labor market as reasons why workers need this safety net.

“Supporters of this bill have forgotten that workers earn these insurance benefits by working, and that tough economic times often last longer than a mere 13 weeks,” he said in a statement, the news source reported.

Now it is a waiting game to see if the veto will be overridden in the legislature.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


Contact CCC to see how we can save your organization time and money.
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(800) 207-6926

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