TRENTON – Senator Fred H. Madden was honored today by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association for his leadership in solving the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund crisis. Senator Madden, who serves as chair of the Senate Labor Committee, was awarded the 2014 Paul L. Troast Award for Public Service at the organization’s annual Public Policy Forum held today in Edison.
“I am honored to receive this award and to be recognized by business for the work we’ve done to improve New Jersey’s economic position. I want to thank the NJBIA for working with us in a collaborative way to restore the state’s unemployment trust fund to solvency. Together we prevented crippling tax hikes on businesses while ensuring that benefits for the unemployed were protected,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “I look forward to continuing our work to create policies to improve New Jersey’s business climate, to create jobs and spur economic growth.”
NJBIA recognized Madden for his work in bringing New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency through numerous laws he sponsored. His efforts prevented businesses from tax hikes that were set to take effect as a result of the low level of the fund, while ensuring that unemployment benefits were provided to jobless residents. The UI trust fund became insolvent in 2009 due to a rise in unemployment claims and past diversions of $4.7 billion in UI tax revenue in the 1990s and early 2000s. New Jersey began borrowing from the federal government to continue paying UI benefits in March 2009, with the debt reaching a peak of $1.99 billion in March 2011. The debt was entirely paid off in April of this year, and the balance of the UI Trust fund was $509.5 million as of September.
NJBIA is the nation’s largest statewide employer association. With 20,000 plus members it represents every industry in the state, including contractors, manufacturers, retail and wholesale businesses and services providers of every kind. Its members, as a group, employ more than one million people.
The award presentation was held today at the Sheraton Edison Hotel in Edison, NJ. A photo taken at the event is attached. (From Left: NJBIA President Michele N. Siekerka, Senator Fred Madden, Melanie Willoughby, Senior Vice President NJBIA, State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths, and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno).