Sen. Kelly: “If we stave off the tax, it’s good for families in CT.”

August 25, 2023

State labor officials are trying to keep Connecticut’s cash-starved unemployment fund afloat through early November, while avoiding borrowing to replenish it before then.

If they can do so, they could stave off a potential increase in federal unemployment taxes costing Connecticut employers roughly $30 million next year.

Republican legislators and other business advocates said Connecticut could have done far more in terms of tapping its coffers to help businesses support the unemployment trust.

Republican leaders in the state House and Senate also said Lamont and his fellow Democrats in the legislature’s majority ignored GOP calls for dedicating more state funds for the unemployment trust.

“I think Connecticut has missed an opportunity,” said House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora of North Branford. “The financial status quo for businesses is just not good enough.”

Senate Republican leader Kevin Kelly, of Stratford, said the fastest way to help businesses grow jobs coming out of an economic downturn — such as that caused by the pandemic in 2020 — is to mitigate tax burdens. Both Kelly and Candelora said they were open to channeling more funds into the trust this fall.

“If we stave off the tax, it’s good for the families in Connecticut,” Kelly said.

The co-chairwoman of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and Rep. Toni E. Walker, D-New Haven, said they would meet with Department of Labor officials to learn more, but were skeptical legislators would meet in special session this fall to address the unemployment trust.