TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) today urged Governor Christie to reconsider proposals that would cut weekly benefits paid out of the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund, voicing her opposition to any measure that would increase the burden on those most devastated by the failing economy. In doing so, Sen. Buono issued the following statement:
“At a time when half a million people in New Jersey are unemployed, through no fault of their own, they look to unemployment benefits as a lifeline. These benefits help keep people in their homes, put food on the table and pump money into the economy. As one of the few states where employees contribute toward the unemployment fund, we should not be considering proposals that would further erode this lifeline.
“As an example, a laid off worker who was earning $42,600 per year and has three dependents would have his or her UI benefits cut by more than $200 per month under these proposals. Our nation is moving through the most difficult economic period since the Great Depression. How can we even begin to ask people that find themselves struggling financially to shoulder this burden?
“I recognize the severity of the situation and have been pressuring our Congressional delegation to act to extend federal assistance to hard-pressed states, continue the waiver of interest payments and forgive the $1.2 billion loan to our UI fund. With roughly a month to go before the UI fund runs out and triggers a tax hike on employers, we need to move fast with a comprehensive solution that doesn’t impact people out of work who cannot withstand a double hit by having weekly benefits slashed. It’s just plain wrong.
“I urge the Governor to support the convening of a discussion with business and labor leaders to ensure every stakeholder has input into solutions that would replenish the UI fund without inflicting further pain on the unemployed, who should not be asked to absorb yet another financial blow.”
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