Missouri businesses to pay more in unemployment taxes

Nov 25, 2013

Credit Image by Evan Townsend

Missouri businesses will have to shell out more money for unemployment taxes next year in order to pay down debt the state owes to the federal government.

Missouri began borrowing federal dollars in 2008 to pay for jobless benefits after an economic downturn drained the state's unemployment benefits trust fund.  Brendan Cossette with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that led to the feds levying a surcharge on Missouri businesses to repay the borrowed money.

"Every year that that debt is outstanding, the amount of the surcharge owed to the federal government increases," Cossette said.

Missouri businesses currently pay $42 per employee per year, but that figure will increase to $63 per employee per year on January 1st.  Cossette says the state owes the federal government $308 million for unemployment insurance.

"So until that's resolved, employers are (going to) have to pay," Cossette said.  "If the debt is not paid off by November 10th of 2014, on January 1st of 2015 our employers will be assessed $84 per employee."

Thirteen other states, including bordering states Arkansas and Kentucky, have also borrowed money to pay for jobless benefits.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2013 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.