Governor Bob Holden has signed legislation aimed at shoring up the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and rewriting some of the state’s unemployment statutes. The changes mean added benefits to many out-of-work Missourians. The law will raise the maximum weekly benefit from $250 to $320 a week by 2010. Solvency of the Trust Fund is another element of this legislation. The Fund went bankrupt in March of 2003, forcing the state to borrow federal money to pay claims. The changes to the unemployment statutes will see Missouri employers paying additional taxes to keep the Fund solvent. At the same time, new rules will put limits on benefits now given to certain individuals who lose their jobs because of misconduct or illegal activities. The changes have been supported all along by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. It believes the added business taxes amount to only a fraction of the sums of money businesses would eventually have had to pay had the Trust Fund not been made solvent.
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