Gibbons: Lawmakers show callous disregard for unemployed
UPDATED: With comment from Assemblyman Marcus Conklin.
Gov. Jim Gibbons on Monday accused lawmakers of callous disregard for Nevadans on unemployment for failing to approve regulations implementing unemployment insurance taxes paid by businesses.
He said the decision by the Legislative Commission not to act last week could result in the federal government cutting off funding to Nevada’s unemployed effective Jan. 1. The state has exhausted its Unemployment Trust Fund and is now relying on money it borrows from the federal government to write checks each week for the nearly 120,000 Nevadans out of work.
“I am stunned that the Legislature would show such callous disregard for Nevada families,” said Gibbons.
He said to ensure those funds aren’t cut off, he is having staff develop emergency regulations.
“Legislators should be ashamed of themselves for their inaction on this matter,” he said. “I believe they are just playing politics with the pain and suffering of Nevada citizens.”
But Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, who chaired the commission subcommittee, said Gibbons is incorrect. He said the regulations were referred back to the employment security division because no public hearings were held on the proposed regulations. Those hearings, he said, are required by law.
Conklin said the state won’t lose federal money by not adopting the regulations.
“Legislative counsel advised us and has since confirmed that there was never any danger that federal funding would be lost unless the agency failed to adopt an emergency regulation as directed by the subcommittee,” Conklin said.
The insurance rates were set by the Employment Security Advisory Council in October and Gibbons said their adoption by the Legislative Commission should have been routine. Lawmakers took no action on the regulations.