STATUTE TRIGGERS UNEMPLOYMENT TAX HIKE

Happy New Year, here are some higher taxes. Beginning in January, Florida business owners will pay a higher unemployment tax rate that was triggered by a state statute enacted in 2010. Where some business owners used to pay about $7 per employee (or 0.1% on the first $7,000 in wages), now they will pay about $21 per employee per year (0.29% on the first $7,000 in wages).

Rates are determined by employer history, and some pay much higher taxes. 

Since the pandemic began, Florida has paid out almost $20 billion in unemployment costs for about 5 million state residents. The majority of that bill was paid for with funds from federal programs, and Florida kicked in about $4 billion. Florida’s unemployment fund currently has about $800 million in the bank. However, it is necessary, said Bill Herrle with the National Federation of Small Business.  

“Business owners are the sole payers into the unemployment system, so they have a strong stake in making sure we continue to pay benefits, and we don’t get into a very high debt that will cause rates to go up even higher,” Herrle said.

During the recession of 2008, Florida had to borrow $2.7 billion to pay unemployment claims. Currently, 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have taken out more than $41 billion in federal loans as of Nov. 17 to replenish state employment funds. Funding requests from California, New York, and Texas amount to almost 75% of the total.  

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