Small business owners urge their elected officials to support using federal and state resources to replenish the depleted Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.  While efforts to reduce the annual repayment charges on the estimated $7b deficit are appreciated, that plan creates a “mortgage” whose repayment will still hamper businesses for two decades and whose final settlement will only grow the total cost to employers when interest is added.  More can and should be done to reduce the overall price tag of the obligation by utilizing the options the Legislature has readily available to do so.  

  • The deficit was caused by government decisions to shut down the economy during a public health emergency, not something that businesses did wrong.  Small businesses around the state should not have to shoulder the burden of repayment for something they didn’t cause, but also had to suffer through and are still trying to recover from.
  • Some businesses didn’t lay off a single-employee during the pandemic and many businesses around the state went into reserves and took other actions to keep employees whole, and yet now they are facing a “double-hit” of having paid to keep their employees off the unemployment rolls and now being asked to fund the deficit!
  • Federal stimulus funding has been sent to states to help offset the economic impacts of the pandemic: the deficit in the UI Trust Fund has suffered just such an impact.  More than 30 states have recognized this and have already used CARES Act and/or ARPA funding to replenish their COVID-depleted UI Trust Funds, thereby acknowledging there must be a "shared responsibility" to cover the costs among state government and employers.  In addition to it being the right thing to do, a meaningful contribution by Massachusetts into its UI Trust Fund will help to level the playing field versus those other states and not reduce our business climate’s competitiveness.
  • Every dollar not spent on COVID-related employer payroll taxes represents a dollar that can be used for job, wage, and benefit growth for employees into the future.  Put another way, it will be tougher to create good jobs or afford the added costs of bringing yesterday’s workers back if twenty years of UI costs are even higher without a Trust Fund contribution by the state.
  • Frankly, ample resources exist for the Legislature to also direct funding elsewhere.  An appropriation for UI of $2b will have the impact of saving businesses in the average House district $15m and in the average Senate district $60m.  Again, that’s funding that will allow us to put more people back to work with higher benefits, allow us to grow our businesses and generate more tax revenues to support future government spending, and allow us to continue to be community champions in support of so many local efforts.


Small business owners didn’t cause the shutdown of the economy; the state has billions of dollars of federal transfers and additional tax revenues to address those hardest hit by the pandemic, and higher costs will limit our abilities to grow our businesses, jobs, tax revenues, and community supports for twenty-years! 

As it is, Massachusetts has the most expensive unemployment costs in the country, and that bill is about to get larger as a result of recent announcements by EOLWD.  The Legislature is in the position and has the resources to provide well-deserved UI Trust Fund relief.  We encourage you to support our state’s employers and help them make it possible to employ and support others.