As the coronavirus pandemic caused Kentucky’s economy to shut down, the percent of Kentuckians receiving unemployment insurance benefits has increased to among the highest in the nation.
Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks testified in front of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue about the rising cost of unemployment insurance expected to hit employers in 2021 and the request of Governor Andy Beshear to use federal CARES Act funds to mitigate those costs.
Since the pandemic started, employers across the state have stepped up to keep Kentuckians safe, including the businesses that stayed open to provide essential services, businesses that shifted normal operations to manufacture PPE, and businesses that had to close their doors temporarily.
Now that Kentucky’s economy is restarting, employers face significant increases in unemployment insurance premiums. It is estimated that $1.4 billion will have to come from employers, both public and private, over the next several years to pay off Kentucky’s unemployment insurance federal debt and return to pre-pandemic conditions.
The Kentucky Chamber, along with many other local chambers and businesses from across the Commonwealth, have sent letters to Governor Andy Beshear asking him to use federal CARES Act funds to replenish Kentucky’s depleted unemployment insurance trust fund.
Members of the legislative committee expressed concern and stressed the need for immediate action to help many businesses keep their doors open.