The Missouri House oversight committee chair says the state overpaid more than $100 million in unemployment benefits last year, and he’s hearing that some residents are being told they’ll have to repay up to $12,000.

State Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on January 13, 2021, as State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, (left) listens (file photo courtesy of Ben Peters at House Communications)

The House Special Committee on Government Oversight will hold a hearing on the issue Tuesday afternoon at 2 in Jefferson City. Committee chairman Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, tells Missourinet it’s important to find out what happened.

“I’m hearing over $100 million now, the first number I heard was $40 million and then $90 million and now it’s over $100 (million) on overpayments, and they’re requesting that money back,” Taylor says.

The committee will hear testimony Tuesday from state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations director Anna Hui on what caused the unemployment overpayments. The committee also wants to hear about the department’s subsequent request for reimbursement.

As for Governor Parson, he says Missourians mistakenly paid unemployment benefits by the state should be required to pay the money back. The governor also told the Missouri Press Association on Thursday that “some people did try to defraud the system.”

Director Hui will likely face some tough questions from lawmakers in both parties today. Chairman Taylor says taxpayers who didn’t commit fraud should not have to repay money.

“But I don’t think that these people that, through no fault of their own, they submitted the paperwork, everything was correct on their end and it was the Department (of Labor) who made these erroneous overpayments,” says Taylor.

State Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City, has expressed similar concerns. Senator Williams says if the state overpaid someone, that’s on the state, not the individual.

Chairman Taylor is encouraging Missourians who can’t attend today’s hearing to fill out written testimony.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full three-minute interview with State Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, which was recorded on February 1, 2021:

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