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Posts Tagged ‘unemployment insurance’

It’s drug testing all the way down

Looks like the urinalysis industry in this state is going to get a big stimulus package next year, at least if the Republicans get their way. As top state leaders push to drug-test some Texans seeking jobless benefits and financial assistance, critics suggest the initiative would single out the powerless and hurt their children. It’s […]

We have a new illustration of “chutzpah”

From Sen. John Cornyn, who knows a thing or two about shamelessness. Sen. John Cornyn pinned Democrats with the failure of a plan to extend jobless aid for millions of unemployed workers, only a day after Democrats fell a vote short of pushing through their version of the legislation. “The blame for what happened has […]

How to really put the unemployed to work

Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken has the germ of a good idea here. Unfortunately, he’s incapable of seeing what it is, and so goes off a cliff with it. “Even in good economic times, there were people in Texas who saw the unemployment system as simply another entitlement program, which it’s not,” Pauken, who served […]

The unemployment tax and the Enterprise Fund

We know that unemployment insurance taxes have gone up, and we know that the increase is more than it would have been had Governor Perry not rejected $555 million in stimulus funds for unemployment insurance. But there’s another way in which Perry’s policies have adversely affected the unemployment insurance situation. As the Bill White campaign […]

Just a reminder about Perry’s unemployment tax increase

Lisa Falkenberg watches some video of Texas Workforce Commission Executive Director Larry Temple testifying before the Senate and reiterates something we knew. Temple acknowledged Thursday to the Senate Committee on Economic Development that Texas’ decision not to take $556 million in unemployment stimulus dollars directly led to higher taxes for business owners and more borrowing […]

Unemployment taxes triple

Here comes the Rick Perry unemployment tax increase that we’ve been waiting for. Nearly two-thirds of Texas businesses will see the unemployment taxes they pay per employee per year nearly triple – from $23.40 to $64.80 – under rates announced today by the Texas Workforce Commission. The minimum tax is paid by nearly 255,000 employers, […]

Here comes the unemployment tax increase

Here comes that unemployment insurance tax hike we’ve all been waiting for. Under state law, the state’s unemployment trust fund is supposed to stand at 1 percent of taxable wages, or about $860 million. The fund has been depleted in the wake of high jobless claims. As a result, employers will have to pay more […]

Please know a little something about Texas before you write about Texas

David Broder packs an awful lot of ignorance into these two sentences of his bizarrely hostile column about the Senate’s health care reform bill and the opt-out compromise. If a health care reform with an opt-out provision were to become law this year or next, one of the first states you might expect to exempt […]

Playing politics: Not just for the Forensic Science commission

Hey, you know that two billion dollars of federal funds we need to borrow to shore up the unemployment insurance trust fund? I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that Rick Perry’s appointees on the Texas Workforce Commission are thinking about delaying the inevitable tax hike to pay for all that until after the 2010 […]

Governor Perry loves the stimulus

That Governor Perry loves the stimulus shouldn’t be a surprise, despite his high-profile bleatings. He loves anything he can use to his political advantage. Gov. Rick Perry rallied opposition to federal stimulus spending, but he now is the manager of one of the biggest pots of federal gold in Texas: crime grants to local law […]

Kay finally announces

To paraphrase The Observer, this was the least unexpected announcement in Texas politics history. Obviously, her message isn’t supposed to appeal to people like me, but I’ve read this story twice now and I’m still not exactly sure what her message actually is. This is the bit that encapsulates it for me: Hutchison said she […]

It’s hard to be unemployed in Texas

I’m sure this comes as no surprise. If you lose your job in Texas, you may be out of luck in more ways than one. The Texas Workforce Commission rejected about a third of jobless claims last year and 27 percent the first half of this year. When jobless people appealed those initial decisions, their […]

You can pay me now, or you can pay me later

Odds are, we’ll opt for later to deal with the large deficit we’re facing with the unemployment insurance trust fund. Texas’ jobless-benefits fund is empty, and the state will probably borrow $1.5 billion from the federal government to pay benefits through December, a state official said Tuesday. But it’s unclear when Texas employers will have […]

Burka on the politics of unemployment insurance

Burka takes a look at how Rick Perry’s rejection of the stimulus funds for unemployment insurance might play out in his eventual battle with Kay Bailey Hutchison for the GOP nomination for Governor. Be sure to also read this comment by “Conservative Texan”, which boils the economics of the issue down nicely. Perry’s stance has […]

A&M and the Emerging Technology fund

Loren Steffy tells us about politics infecting research at Texas A&M. And Rick Perry is involved. Shocking, I know. In January, the state awarded A&M $50 million from the Emerging Technology Fund, which purports to benefit private-sector technology startups, for the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, which plans to develop new vaccines. Unfortunately, the infusion […]

Dems attack Perry over stimulus funds

Good to see. Texas Democratic lawmakers Thursday defended President Barack Obama’s stimulus package against criticism from Republican leaders, saying Texas is making economic progress with the help of recovery funds. Texas state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said that without the $16.5 billion in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, steep […]

Two billion dollars

Governor Perry’s grandstanding rejection of the federal stimulus money for unemployment insurance is going to cost us all more and more. Texas is preparing to borrow as much as $2-billion to pay for unemployment insurance benefits. That’s what the chairman for the Texas Workforce Commission told KERA in a recent interview. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports […]

Our friend the stimulus package

Jason Embry tells us just how much Texas relied on the stimulus package this year. A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that federal stimulus dollars played a large role in allowing Texas lawmakers to balance their budget this year without tapping Rainy Day Funds. The national group asked states to […]

Watson on unemployment

State Sen. Kirk Watson reviews the bidding on how the state of Texas has handled its unemployment issues. As was noted during this past legislative session by Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken (who was appointed by the Governor and once led the Texas Republican Party), unemployment assistance is not a welfare program. It exists to […]

More unemployed, fewer benefits

Boy, no one could have predicted this. In a sign of lingering hardship, more than 15,000 Texans will lose their unemployment checks at the end of the month because they have exhausted their benefits after 59 weeks without a job. They are among 82,000 Texans who are on their last allotment of unemployment benefits. Though […]

Texas to get stimulus funds for education

Two weeks ago I wondered if there might be an issue with Texas receiving stimulus funds for education because of the way these funds had been appropriated in the state budget. I’m pleased to see that the answer is no, there are no problems with receiving the funds. Vice President Joe Biden assured Texas Gov. […]

The Chamber of Commerce tax cut

I mentioned before that a secondary reason for Governor Perry to veto HB770 and its Wayne Christian Beach House provision was an amendment slipped in by State Sen. Mike Jackson to give a property tax exemption to local chambers of commerce. Ed Sills of the Texas AFL-CIO went off on a righteous rant about this […]

From the “Things are tough all over” department

Texas trying to keep up with unemployment claims. The rising number of jobless Texans has generated more claims than the Texas Workforce Commission can handle. The commission has added hundreds of workers and phone lines to call centers to deal with soaring unemployment claims, but officials acknowledge that they can’t answer every call. A commission […]

Unemployment insurance taxes set to rise

Good news, business owners! You’re going to see a tax increase soon. Most Texas employers should plan for their unemployment insurance taxes to increase significantly next year, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken of Dallas said Tuesday. While tax rates won’t be set until December, Pauken said that mounting layoffs are close to exhausting a […]

The lack of leadership

State Sen. John Carona gets medieval on his party’s leadership. Tempers flared Saturday on the Legislature’s last weekend with a key GOP senator declaring that the session’s central theme is “lack of leadership” by top members of his own party. “If you look at this session, you’ve got two underlying problems: One is simply the […]

Unemployment insurance dies, CHIP lives

Not unexpectedly, SB1569 was a casualty of the weekend chubfest. Also not surprisingly, it was basically chubbed by Republicans, who wanted to ensure its death as the local and consent calendar was finally finished up a little before the midnight deadline. I’m disappointed to see this bill die, but given that it hadn’t been passed […]

Perry’s salvage job


That’s the word of the day, as the Democrats use up most of the ten-minute allotment for discussion of bills on the Local and Consent calendar in order to delay, hopefully to death, the voter ID bill SB362. It’s not a filibuster, as there’s no such thing in the House – the talking is merely […]

Budget yes, UI not yet

The conference committee on the budget finished its work yesterday. While final details are still emerging, the 10 conferees worked out a last minute plan for spending $700 million of federal stimulus money for state fiscal stabilization. They hope that it will avert a special session, even if Perry vetoes some or all of the […]

Ogden stem cell rider removed from budget

Good. Sen. Steve Ogden just announced that his rider banning use of state funds for embryonic stem cell research will not appear in the new state budget. “We really couldn’t come to a consensus” so the bill will be silent on the stem cell issue, Ogden announced in this morning’s conference committee meeting on the […]

More unemployment funds available

The bad news is that Texas’ rate of unemployment continues to rise. The good news is that this means more federal funds for unemployment insurance are available, and these come with no conditions on them. Texas now qualifies, thanks to the state’s steadily rising unemployment rate, for $250 million of string-free federal money. That money […]

I hate you! I need disaster relief!

Care to guess who is the biggest requestor of federal disaster relief funds since 2001? Why, none other than Governor Rick “Secession 4 Eva!” Perry, that’s who. According to FEMA’s website, Texas has been the site of 13 “major disaster declarations” since Perry took office following George W. Bush’s departure in 2001. That includes five […]

House committee passes SB1569

Good. The House Business and Industry Committee wasted no time approving the Senate bill that would open the door for Texas to get $555 million in federal stimulus money to expand unemployment eligibility. SB 1569 landed in the committee yesterday and the members passed it out Tuesday afternoon in a 6-2 vote. Republican Reps. Wayne […]

House budget conferees announced

Elise Hu names names. State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, House Appropriations Chairman State Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Webb, House Appropriations Vice-Chair State Rep. Ruth Jones-McClendon, D-San Antonio State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Houston Give credit to Burka – he called all five. These five will join Senate conferees Steve Ogden, Royce West, […]