The state department of workforce development's unemployment fund has $369 million, down from a high of $558 million this year along with more people applying. The information, released a few weeks ago, drew concern of the jobless not getting checks. This fear was compounded by Monday's announcement that General Motors will stop making full-size SUV's in Janesville two days before Christmas.
DWD says Wisconsinites out of work will get their benefits even if the federal government has to be tapped for the money. Todd Barry, President of the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, believes despite the current financial woes at the federal level, it will come through for the state.
"The federal government seems to have an unlimited capacity to generate debt," says Barry.
He adds the situation is reminiscent of the early 1980's when the state was "hit hard" by a recession. In 1982 the feds loaned $737 million and it took seven years to pay it all back.
Barry says in the 80's, repayment of the loan and restoring the state fund required a bi-partisan committee to figure out a solution. The financial researcher says that's likely what will have to happen again.
DWD says borrowing from the feds could be avoided if a scheduled employer tax increase takes effect in time. Employers now pay unemployment taxes on the first $10,500 of each worker's wages. That will go up to $12,000 next year.