2004 unemployment insurance rates won’t increase | NevadaAppeal.com

2004 unemployment insurance rates won’t increase

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada businessmen won’t have to pay more for unemployment insurance next year.

After being assured by staff that Nevada’s economy is on the mend and the jobless rate returning to normal, the Employment Security Council voted Friday to keep unemployment insurance rates at 1.29 percent overall for 2004.

Rebecca Montaro of the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation told the council Nevada has seen a huge increase in the number of those receiving unemployment benefits since the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In fact, she said the increase began even before the attacks.

“But the trust fund has withstood that challenge,” she said.

She said the jobless rate has come back down, people have returned to work and the total number employed in the state has managed to increase – not only this year but in 2002 when most states saw a decrease in total workers.

“We can look forward to an improving economy in Nevada and therefore staff recommends you leave the average rate at 1.29 percent,” she said.

Employers will keep their existing tax rate through 2004. There are 18 different classes of employers based on their employee turnover and how much money their former workers collect from the fund. Nearly half – 48 percent – pay the lowest rate – a quarter percent. The rate goes up to 5.4 percent for those employers with the highest worker turnover.

She and Nancy Samon of DETR said the rates would generate about $276 million in employer payments and interest to the fund in 2004.

Expected payments next year, they said, will come to $286 million – leaving the fund with a balance of $424.2 million.

That is $36.3 million more than the $387.9 million analysts and actuaries calculate must be in the fund to ensure it remains solvent.

Samon said after the meeting the numbers don’t include any increase in revenue as more companies are put on the tax rolls this coming year.

The newly enacted business and payroll taxes imposed by the 2003 Legislature include funding for efforts to find businesses now escaping taxation. She said that may create a bubble of unanticipated new employers who have to pay the tax, but added the department can’t count on that so it wasn’t added to revenue estimates.

If it does show up, she said it will help rebuild the fund’s reserves after two years of depletion caused by the recession and 9-11.