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Where Does Your State Stand?



Some States Will Get More Money

Thirty-five states expect to collect more unemployment taxes in 2010 from employers because of changes in tax laws, according to a survey by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Hawaii expects to see the highest increase, unless action is taken to cap tax hikes on employers, and Kentucky projects the lowest increase. Two states, New Mexico and Nevada, expect to collect less in unemployment tax revenue from employers in 2010, while Michigan, North Carolina and West Virginia expect no change.


West Virginia in the Black

West Virginia’s unemployment trust fund balance in January 2010 was still in the black at approximately $100 million. The state has not yet had to borrow from the federal government.
Although the recession hit West Virginia hard, the state didn’t see a major increase in unemployment claims until December 2008, several months later than many states, said Mike Moore, the state’s unemployment compensation director.
West Virginia’s trust fund was relatively stable before the recession started, leaving the state in a better position to weather the coming storm, Moore said.
The state also took several pre-emptive steps to ensure the fund stays solvent. In May 2009, Gov. Joe Manchin signed Senate Bill 246, which increased the amount of wages businesses must pay taxes on from $8,000 to $12,000, meaning businesses must now pay taxes on the first $12,000 of each employee’s income.
The legislation also froze benefits at the current range of $24 to $424, until the trust fund reaches $220 million. The state also transferred $40 million from the old workers’ compensation fund, which was privatized in 2005, into the unemployment trust fund.
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