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  • Writer's picturePat Bailey

Poll: New York State Businesses Hampered by UI Debt



Businesses upstate say the Unemployment Insurance (UI) debt is having serious impacts on their business, and they don't support having to foot the bill.


In the most recent Business Council and Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) poll, 84% of CEOs surveyed said the UI debt, now at about $8 billion, is seriously impacting their business. Even more decision-makers, 89% of those polled, say they oppose making businesses solely pay back the debt.


An unprecedented spike in unemployment claims at the beginning of the pandemic, all driven by state-mandated reductions in the workforce, drove New York’s UI fund deep into the red. Under existing state law, the entirety of the federal advances to cover the claims will be repaid through increased payroll taxes on employers, with high federal and state payroll taxes likely lasting the rest of this decade or beyond.


The Business Council has strongly recommended New York State follow the example of more than 30 other states who have already acted and used some of their federal COVID relief funds to alleviate UI tax burdens on in-state employers. However, to date, New York State is the lone state yet to take any action to ease the burden.


Just 5% of CEOs surveyed said they "support" playing the debt back by increasing payroll taxes on employers.


The SCRI upstate CEO poll is done in partnership with The Business Council of New York State. The survey was done between November 2022 and February 2023, with 530 CEOs polled from seven regions. This was the 16th year the poll was conducted.

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