State lawmakers take their time, but in the waning hours of the legislative session they swallow hard and approve a compromise to shore up the unemployment compensation fund. Red ink was the selling point on this bill. An unemployment compensation fund $300-Million in the red, projected to grow to $500-Million next year if the legislature did nothing. Representative Todd Smith of Sedalia proposed the medicine; big payments now from businesses to make the fund solvent for the future. Smith told colleagues the legislature had put off taking action for too long. The Director of the Division of Employment Security, Gracia Backer, says both sides worked too hard to let the bill die. The state had been borrowing from the federal government to prop up the fund. Reforms should not only keep the fund solvent, but provide enough money to increase the maximum weekly benefit for laid off workers.
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