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New York State Department of Labor

Governor Cuomo Announces Unemployment Trust Fund Has Achieved Positive Balance
for the First Time Since 2009

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Albany, NY (June 09, 2015) -

Governor Cuomo today announced that the New York State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund has achieved a positive balance for the first time since January 2009. Reforms to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund signed into law by the Governor in 2013, along with improved economic conditions over past years have led to a positive trust fund balance.

“With much-needed reforms and a rebounding private sector, the Unemployment Trust Fund has reached new levels of fiscal stability, while at the same time providing relief for businesses and higher benefits for unemployed workers,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is one more example of how this administration’s focus on rebuilding the state’s economy and making government work more efficiently is delivering results.”

For seven years, the State’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund did not have enough funds to pay for claims filed by unemployed workers. As a result, New York was forced to borrow funds from the Federal government to cover the difference and employers had to pay back a $3.5 billion debt plus interest.

In March 2013, Governor Cuomo signed into law a major reform to the state’s Unemployment Insurance System. These measures included increasing benefits for workers, decreasing costs to employers, and modernizing the UI system to make it sustainable and self-correcting. Included in the law was a mechanism to accelerate the payment of federal loans to stabilize the trust fund, making it more sustainable and predictable. Much like paying off the balance of a credit card early to avoid escalating interest costs, the reform law was designed to repay the trust fund loan sooner, saving New York businesses an estimated $200 million in interest.

Improved economic conditions over the past years have also led to a positive trust fund balance. Since the Governor has taken office in 2011, the New York State unemployment rate has decreased from 8.3 percent to 5.7 percent. During the Governor’s tenure the state’s economy has added 626,100 private sector jobs and experienced employment growth in 45 of the past 52 months.

Acting Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino said, “Achieving a positive balance marks an important milestone for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The combination of an improving economy and much needed reforms means that we are well on track to achieve permanent solvency in the UI trust fund next year.”

President of the New York State AFL-CIO Mario Cilento said, "The health of the trust fund will ensure future generations of an increased benefit they can rely on during times of crisis. In addition, the reforms signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2013 including annual indexation of unemployment benefits will help keep up with the cost of living. In fact, unemployment benefits are on track for the second badly needed increase this fall which will help protect workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own."

Vice president of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. Ken Pokalsky said, “This is a positive step toward achieving long-term solvency of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, early repayment of federal loans, and reductions in employer’s UI tax rates. This milestone is a direct result of the 2013 reform package championed by Governor Cuomo, and passed by the Legislature, with strong support from the state’s business community.”

Executive director of Unshackle Upstate Greg Biryla said, "We're pleased that the Unemployment Insurance reforms we advocated for in 2013 have yielded real results, restoring the UI Trust Fund to solvency for the first time in years. This is good for job creators, and for their employees as well. We commend Governor Cuomo for tackling this issue, which will better enable the state’s businesses to compete in the global economy. We look forward to seeing similar progress on other measures that will improve the state's business climate."

President of the Empire Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors Brian Sampson said, "The news that the reforms to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system are finally paying off is a welcomed sign for the business community of New York. Under the direction of the Executive Chamber, the business community and labor sat at the table and negotiated a package of changes that would bring stability to the UI system. Those reforms have taken root and are now paying dividends for the unemployed and the employer community alike. It's a clear example of how progress can be made when all sides sit together and find commonsense solutions."

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