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Leave it to Evers: Burning down the house

Empower Wisconsin | June 1, 2020

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ state lockdowns have put thousands of businesses in economic peril and displaced hundreds of thousands of private sector workers. 

Now it looks like the bumbling governor and his overmatched Department of Workforce Development are trying to add more pain to the punch. 

In a letter last week to the Democrat, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) charge that DWD has been paying COVID-19-related Unemployment claims out of the wrong account. 

“As a result of DWD’s decision not to follow the law, impacted employers will now face the huge tax increase the legislation sought to avoid when the June 30 calculation is made,” the letter states. 

Private employers — not  government tax revenues — finance Unemployment Insurance benefits through a tax based on size of the business and their past unemployment claims. 

On April 15, Evers signed into law Act 185, which included a provision that required UI claims specifically related to the COVID-19 emergency not be charged to a contribution employer’s UI account for the remainder of 2020. Instead, the law required that these claims be charged to the balancing account, which is supported by interest on the UI Trust Fund and the solvency tax paid by employers. 

“The purpose of this provision was to attempt to mitigate the huge tax increases that employers most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis would see as a result of the normal June 30 calculation,” the legislative leaders wrote. “The employers who would see the largest tax hikes are the same employers whose businesses have been severely impacted and may struggle to keep their doors open even as the state begins reopening.”

In other words, the same administration that forced businesses to shut down before the state Supreme Court declared invalid  Evers’ lockdown is looking to finish off the struggling employers with higher taxes ahead. 

Leave it to Evers to burn down the house he just looted. 

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