Louisiana senators grapple with unemployment fund bankruptcy

Louisiana Politics

Volunteers distribute food to recipients at the Giving Hope Food Pantry during a food giveaway, which was organized by City Councilmember Cindi Nguyen, in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. The effort is to assist people who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana senators have started moving legislation to keep the bankruptcy of the state unemployment trust fund from triggering business tax hikes and a drop in benefits for jobless workers.

But lawmakers and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards still have no plan for refilling the depleted fund. Louisiana will begin to borrow money from the federal government Wednesday to pay unemployment benefits.

The Senate labor committee Tuesday advanced measures that would keep the current level of taxes on businesses that pay into the unemployment fund and the current level of benefits paid to the unemployed in place through 2021.

Louisiana’s trust fund topped $1 billion before the coronavirus outbreak.

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