Bill to lower employer tax burdens sent to governor

HONOLULU — A bill that would provide unemployment insurance relief for Hawaii employers is now on Democratic Gov. David Ige’s desk for approval.

The bill would reduce employers’ contribution rates over the next two years and would shift that financial liability to the state, KITV-TV reported Thursday.

The legislation was sent to the governor after passing unanimously in both chambers of the Legislature.

The state’s unemployment fund had roughly $600 million in it last March. The funds ran out by June, which forced the state to borrow an additional $700 million from the federal government.

“The requirement for us to have borrowed money in order to provide UI benefits was not the fault of employers or employees, and we’re looking at solutions the state address that issue and not the employers,” said House Labor Committee Chair Richard Onishi.

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