As I had related in my last post, Representative Chris Sinicki told meWell, don't say I didn't warn you.
that they have no less than 51 changes in store for unemployment insurance. Furthermore, she said that the Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they plan on ramming these changes through, regardless of what the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, the Democrats or their own constituents have to say about any of this.
Sinicki had already told us that one of the changes will be pushing back the start of unemployment back to six weeks.
Scott Walker also pointed out several changes he wants to make:
These changes, which would need to be made by lawmakers, would include requiring the unemployed to do four job applications a week instead of the current two.As noted in the article, the problem arose during the Bush/Cheney recession, which produced a horrendously large number of job losses, quickly draining the fund for the unemployment insurance. As a consequence, the state had to borrow more than a billion dollars from the federal government in order to be able to pay the bills.
"Common sense changes could improve the (unemployment) reserve fund condition, enhance the integrity of the program, and ensure taxes paid into the fund are used properly," the report reads.
At the bottom of the unemployment insurance complaints from business owners - and the Walker administration's focus - lies the financial state of the state's jobless fund. Weakened by the recession and a lack of past action to raise taxes or cut spending from the fund, the jobless reserve had to borrow from the federal government to keep paying benefits and stood $1.2 billion in the red at the beginning of 2012.
So to pay off the debt, the state already has had to restrict benefits for the jobless and raise payroll taxes on state employers.
Making it harder to get benefits would help with that process by keeping more money in the fund. But Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said he was worried about the unemployed workers who wouldn't receive that money.
"Of the few details available, we know Wisconsin families and those suffering the most from slow job creation may lose important protections in the unemployment insurance program. We can only conclude that there is cause for concern that this administration may remove other common sense protections for Wisconsin's middle-class workers," Larson said in a statement.
The Walker administration also wants to look at:
Requiring more documentation from recipients of jobless benefits to cut down on fraud
Restricting the number of reasons such as illness, travel distance or physical limitations that a person can give to refuse work and still receive jobless benefits
Narrowing the list of exceptions that allow workers to quit a job and then receive unemployment insurance. Wisconsin currently has 18 of these exemptions, such as quitting for medical reasons or moving to a new region with a spouse. According to the report, Minnesota is the state with the next highest number of exemptions with nine.
The article states that there were two ways to pay off the debt - raise taxes on the companies or cut the spending from the fund.
With thanks to Rep. Chris Sinicki for the heads up, we find that the Republicans had introduced the bill this past Friday and it was immediately scheduled for a public hearing this coming Wednesday:
AssemblyHere is AB 219 in all it's ugliness.
Committee on Labor
The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Assembly Bill 219
Relating to: various changes in the unemployment insurance law; license revocations based on delinquency in payment of unemployment insurance contributions; granting rule-making authority; providing a penalty; and making an appropriation.
By Representative Knodl; cosponsored by Senator Lasee.
Representative Daniel Knodl
But there is something that the gentle reader should note.
AB 219, as bad as it is, is strictly what was agreed upon by the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council.
I have word that the Republicans could very well enter a motion in Finance on Wednesday to add all the crap that was not approve by the advisory council. I do believe we've seen enough to know how it will go from there without me having to paint the gentle reader a picture.
So let us be prepared. Not only will be there the frontal attack of kicking the unemployed while they are down, but they will be also launching a sneak attack adding the things that no one but the Republicans and their corporate masters want.
I just find it sickening that the Republicans - who have cause the state to become 44th in the nation in job creation and just had the largest one month drop in jobs in years - believe it is necessary or even desirable to attack their victims a second time. Talk about your sad sacks.
I also have to wonder how the thirteen Democrats who voted for AB 110 feel about themselves now that the people they voted against before are about to get slammed again.