Georgia Unemployment Fund Running Dry
(AJC) — Georgia’s fund that sends checks to the unemployed is nearly empty, and legislation in the General Assembly won’t refill it. And the state may take money from Medicaid and job-creating budgets just to cover the fund’s $24 million interest payment due in October. State officials said this week that the legislation, pushed heavily by the tax-averse business community, won’t return the unemployment insurance trust fund to solvency. So far, the state has borrowed $672 million from Washington to pay tens of thousands of unemployed Georgians. And the tally rises daily. More than 191,000 Georgians — one of every three jobless people in the state — received unemployment insurance payments last week, according to the Labor Department. The average payment is $269 per week. Labor officials say all jobless recipients will be paid, regardless of the state’s depleted trust fund. The recession’s double-digit unemployment, combined with insufficient tax contributions from employers, depleted the trust fund. Georgia’s wounds, though, are self-inflicted after the state halted payments into the fund by most employers more than a decade ago.