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“Either the benefits need to be less generous or the tax is higher or both. But the state has just chosen to live on the edge for decades.”

Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax policy group, regarding a proposed California bill that would give unemployment checks to striking workers while they picket for better pay and working conditions. The state’s unemployment benefits fund is filled by a tax that businesses must pay for each worker, but the tax only applies to the first $7,000 of employee wages and has not been changed since 1984. The state has only increased unemployment benefits twice since then, once in 1989 and once in 2001. Despite three years of record job growth, the state estimates that benefit payments will exceed tax collections by $1.1 billion. (Associated Press — Aug. 23, 2023)
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