Gov. Beshear signs bill replenishing unemployment insurance fund and helping businesses recover

On Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law a bill that addresses issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic including increased employer rates and a depleted unemployment insurance system.

House Bill 144, sponsored by Rep. Russell Webber, freezes the rate schedule that is used to set employer unemployment insurance taxes. The legislation also requires all benefits paid due to a declared emergency come from a pooled account and not individual employers reserve accounts.

These changes are projected to save employers roughly $130 million, staving off a $70 per covered employee tax increase this year.

Additionally, the bill puts approximately $242 million into the fund which would restore the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund back to pre-pandemic levels. The appropriation will come from one-time monies Kentucky received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.  

The governor and Rep. Webber discussed the positive savings the bill will bring to employers as the state recovers from the pandemic.

Webber thanked the Kentucky Chamber, the governor, and other groups for their work on the bill and said as the business community faces issues with the talent pool and other areas, House Bill 144 is the right way to ensure they don’t also face increase costs and ensure they can move from recovery to growth.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts, Rep. Russell Webber, and Kentucky Chamber Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks

“The business community applauds the work of the General Assembly and thanks the governor for signing House Bill 144 into law. Businesses stepped up to do their part to control the spread of the virus that caused record unemployment levels, and this law is essential to protect businesses and move the Commonwealth forward,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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