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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Swedzinski: Tax hike becomes real after House Democrats fail to pass unemployment bill

Thursday, March 24, 2022


ST. PAUL – State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said Minnesota employers are now seeing increases on their unemployment insurance rates come to light after House Democrats stopped preventative legislation from reaching enactment.

“This tax increase easily could have been avoided but now it’s becoming real for employers who are seeing their rates increase,” Swedzinski said. “All the House needed to do was to approve the same bipartisan bill the Senate already passed by a veto-proof margin. Instead, House Democrats prevented the bill from even coming up for a vote so we could send it to the governor for enactment.

“Unfortunately, employers and consumers in general now will pay the price at a time we already are being crushed by higher prices in the Biden-Walz economy. Meanwhile, the state has a surplus of around $10 billion and growing, but House Democrats continue standing in the way of fixing this unemployment insurance problem.”

This tax increase is a result of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund becoming depleted with more people out of work during the pandemic. The federal government provided funding to the state to keep the program in operation and now Minnesota’s debt of more than $1 billion is due. Without legislation enacted by March 15 to at least pay the federal debt, a tax increase on Minnesota employers becomes the default.

Swedzinski said employers could face state and federal penalties if they do not comply with the state’s new unemployment insurance tax rates, a minimum $250 per month for late filing/payment or $10 per employee, whichever is more. Federal penalties could be up to 15 percent of the amount owed, plus potential criminal penalties, Swedzinski said.

“I encourage employers to keep an eye on their tax tables to make sure they are square,” Swedzinski said. “Given the serious consequences, it was bad advice for some Democrats to suggest to job providers that they ‘wait and see’ on UI tax relief instead of following their prescribed payment schedule. The last thing we need is for people to incur penalties and have problems compound because House Democrats failed Minnesotans miserably on this issue.”