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Senate Approves Sweeney Bid To Have Voters Ban Fund Raids

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a resolution sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney asking voters to ban raids to funds that provide unemployment insurance and other benefits.

The proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-60, would seek voter approval to ban State raids of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Temporary Disability Fund and the Paid Family Leave Fund.

“It’s always been wrong to raid funds that are set aside by levies on the wages of working men and women, but now, in this economic crisis, it’s unbearable,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland.

The bipartisan proposal, co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, would face voter approval at the next general election if it is approved by the Assembly.

“We shouldn’t subject the UI Fund – or any fund devoted to a specific cause – to the whims of budgetary shortfalls,” said Senator Sweeney. “A constitutional amendment is a good way to back up good intentions with iron clad protection.” lose their jobs.”

In a recent report, it was noted that the UI Fund paid $169 million in claims last month, up 23 percent from last November.

Earlier this year, the UI Fund received an emergency infusion of $260 million to avert an automatic trigger in a business tax.

The Sweeney proposal would ask voters to amend the State Constitution to require that any state funds generated by assessments on wages of workers be used only for the purposes for which they were created such as unemployment, disability or workers’ compensation.

‘This proposal will change the culture of our budgetary practices which, on a bipartisan basis, has raided billions of dollars from the UI Fund.” Senator Sweeney said.

The measure passed 36-1 and now awaits action in the Assembly.