By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The House unanimously passed a measure Wednesday that would help repay the interest on a $948 million federal loan that paid for unemployment insurance benefits.
House Bill 495 would allow the state to borrow about $79 million over the next three years to repay the interest on the federal loan the state used to pay unemployment insurance benefits when the fund went broke two years ago. The state’s businesses would eventually repay that loan through a special assessment beginning in 2014. No state tax dollars would be used to repay the loan.
If the interest payments on that loan were not repaid, businesses would see an increase from a current federal tax of $63 to $420 per employee. That would cost Kentucky businesses millions of dollars, said Rep. Larry Clark,D-Louisville, and sponsor of the bill.
The House ultimately voted 97-0 to pass HB 495. It now heads to the Senate.