Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fixing the State's Broken Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program

Yesterday I released the following statement following the scheduling of a meeting with stakeholders to discuss loopholes in the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance benefits program costing municipalities scarce public dollars (see our March 6th post, Senate Republican Caucus Seeks to Initiate Dialogue with Municipal Officials or by clicking here), and the recent announcement by Governor Patrick on the filing of an unemployment insurance benefits bill. Executive Director Geoffrey Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and a coalition of municipal officials will be attending a meeting at the State House with Senate Republicans on Wednesday, March 14th at 11:00 a.m.

"The recent cases brought to light by municipal officials of the blatant exploitation of the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance benefits program are egregious examples of a system gone wrong. I am pleased to announce that Executive Director Beckwith of the MMA and a coalition of municipal officials will be meeting with Senate Republicans next week to discuss long term solutions to this broken system.

I'm glad that Governor Patrick has decided to join the efforts of Senate Republicans in addressing some of these very glaring issues, however, the bill he has filed does not go far enough in protecting precious taxpayers' dollars. It is going to require a methodical approach and a lot of work to ensure that the loopholes are closed that are costing municipalities scarce public dollars from being subjected to the many frivolous cases that are being tolerated by the current system.

The Governor's bill addresses some of the "low-hanging fruits" of the issue, but a true solution will require the cooperation of the administration, legislative leaders and local officials in order to restore the integrity of an unemployment benefits system that so many rightfully depend on. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss with Governor Patrick the findings of Senate Republicans, and hope he will support a comprehensive legislative package that will address all of the loopholes surrounding the issue."