ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Local businesses are still feeling the effects of the pandemic. Many recently learned that they must pay a surtax to the New York Department of Labor, so the state can pay off billions of dollars in debt to the US Treasury for unemployment benefits.
When the pandemic led to record unemployment, the state took out a loan to pay benefits. The amount currently owed on the loan is approximately $8.1 billion. As a result, businesses across the state must pay an interest assessment surcharge by September 30.
Jason Pierce, owner of Albany Savoy Taproom and The Copper Crow restaurants, said after the pandemic he held job fairs and offered bonuses, but it was hard to find someone to work for. him.
“We begged for unemployment to stop, to be reduced, but it continued,” Pierce explained, “and now we’re literally being asked to pay it again, when we’ve been through it once before. during the pandemic. Frankly, it’s unfair.”
Matt Doheny, general manager of ABC Sports & Fitness, shares his frustration. He told NEWS10 he had done everything he could to avoid raising prices for his customers, despite the impact of COVID.
He said that with over 50 employees, it would be a major expense for ABC, adding, “Our overall expenses are growing 24% year over year. Now this extra burden placed on my small business by the state after they forced us to close for 6 months is not fair.
While the cost is only about $27.60 per employee, Ken Pokalsky, vice president of the New York State Business Council, said it can be a significant pain.
“Employers are already paying significantly higher unemployment insurance premiums than before the pandemic, and that’s on top of all the other things that have become more expensive: labor costs, fuel costs, cost of materials, cost of supplies,” Pokalsky said.
“By not addressing the state’s unemployment insurance debt in this year’s budget, New York’s already high cost of living will reach new heights,” said Justin Wilcox, executive director of ‘Upstate United, a coalition made up of business and trade organizations from everywhere. New York. “New York’s current $7.7 billion debt will be shouldered by struggling employers and ultimately consumers. This crisis comes at a time when businesses are facing high inflation, labor issues and supply chain issues. Employers need meaningful UI relief, not empty rhetoric from Albany.
In a statement, the Department of Labor said, “New York State has already taken steps to reduce the impact on businesses – including a formal request to the federal government to cancel the loan – and will continue to monitor the Fund’s balance while it works to eliminate the debt.
The IAS letters began to be sent from mid to late July. Under state law, all New York businesses that pay unemployment insurance (UI) premiums to the state are liable for IAS.