Mass. Gov.: Freeze Unemployment Insurance Rates
By STEVE LeBLANC
BOSTON (AP) â¿¿ Gov. Deval Patrick said Tuesday he will file legislation that would freeze unemployment insurance rates for Massachusetts businesses and end parts of the state's landmark 2006 health care law that is at odds with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Patrick said the bill would freeze the unemployment rates for the fourth year in a row, saving employers another $500 million. Over four years the savings for employers would amount to about $1.7 billion, he said.
Patrick's bill would also eliminate the annual $295 per employee that businesses with 11 or more workers must pay if they don't make what the state determines is a "fair and reasonable" contribution to their worker's health insurance.The so-called "Fair Share Contribution Program" was mandated by the 2006 state law, but Patrick said it overlaps with a provision in the federal health care law that takes effect in 2014. "Our people need jobs and these further measures will help employers create those jobs," Patrick said in announcing the proposed changes. Patrick's bill would also eliminate the state's Medical Security Program, which helps provide health care coverage to lower income individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Patrick said that â¿¿ like the fair share program â¿¿ the medical security program is no longer needed under the federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama. The proposed legislation will also create what Patrick is calling an "employer responsibility contribution" that businesses will be required to pay into beginning next year. The money will go to help pay for subsidized health care for lower income residents, but will be less than the cost to employers of the Medical Security Program. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailer Association of Massachusetts, appeared with the governor and praised the changes. He said they were critical as the state tries to smooth out changes for employers as the federal health care law kicks in.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV