As the nation faces an economic slowdown, business leaders are keeping a watchful eye on the state's unemployment reserve fund. The fund used to pay jobless claims is at dangerously low levels, and Wayne Corey of Wisconsin Independent Businesses says it's a serious predicament.
The problem is that the state has paid out more in benefits from the fund over the past several years than it's brought in from taxes. As a result, Corey says if jobless claims take a big jump, the fund could be drained quickly.
Corey says that would force the state to borrow money from the federal government, like it did 1983. He says that's a situation the state would want to avoid, because it could result in higher taxes for businesses and the public.
A state law passed in March will raise the taxes paid in to the fund starting next spring. However, Corey says the state should be worried about getting through the winter months, if the economy worsens and jobless claims rise.
Even with the tax increase, Corey says it's unclear the fund can be boosted up to a safe level quickly.