McDonnell Opposes Unemployment Stimulus
As the General Assembly returns to Richmond today, Democrats are calling on GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell to urge Republican legislators to change Virginia's unemployment system so the state can take advantage of $125 million in federal stimulus money.
That's going to be a tough sell.
Through his spokesman, McDonnell said he opposes changes that could mean higher taxes for businesses once the stimulus money is exhausted.
"Bob McDonnell is highly supportive of the stimulus money being used to compensate displaced full time workers in Virginia,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "However, creating an unfunded federal mandate to permanently expand benefits with one time funding poses an undue hardship on the taxpayers and employers. Thus the long term effect would not be good for economic development."
The change would increase the rate at which employers pay into the state unemployment trust fund by up to $4.50 more per worker, per year.
"This is not a time for partisanship,'' said Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax), chairman of the House Democratic caucus. "It's time to do what is right for Virginia."
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce and other business groups oppose the proposal. If legislators approve it, thousands of Virginians who work part time or are in approved job training programs would become eligible to receive benefits.
The General Assembly returns to the state Capitol for a one-day session today to consider Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's amendments and vetoes.
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