Volz supports unemployment insurance relief for small businesses

'We should have done this months ago during a special session,' says Volz

With a bipartisan vote, the Washington State House of Representatives passed legislation today to give employers relief from drastically increasing unemployment insurance rates.

Senate Bill 5061 would prevent about $1.7 billion in automatic unemployment insurance tax increases over the next few years while at the same time, raising slightly the amount of money unemployed workers are allowed to receive.

“This is why we were calling for a special session last spring, summer and fall,” said Rep. Mike Volz, R-Spokane. “We should have done this months ago during a special session. It would have had a much bigger impact on both employees and employers had we enacted something like this when Republican and Democrat legislators were basically begging for a special session.

“As it is, this gets us something. Although I believe we could have done better – we should have done better. At least for now we can keep small businesses that were ordered by the governor to shut down from bearing the full weight of these massively increasing unemployment insurance rates,” said Volz. “Imagine being an employer, and through no fault of your own – no bad business decisions – you're forced by the governor, by the pandemic, to close down. And then on top of all that, the state hits you with a doubling or tripling of your unemployment insurance rate because you had to lay off workers? Our employers should not be held responsible for layoffs that took place because of the governor's emergency orders. Frankly, this bill is the least we can do. But we need to do more.”

The Senate passed the measure earlier in the week while the House of Representatives took the unusual step of sending the bill directly to the House floor, bypassing normal committee action on the proposal.

The 105-day 2021 legislative session is being conducted mostly via remote, online activity. It is schedule to end April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications