Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 13, 2014

DEREK THOMAS: Protect Hoosier jobs with bipartisan solution

Pence voted for work-sharing act in 2012

(Continued)

Finally, work-sharing has the real potential to chip away at Indiana’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit. The program, according to our survey of states with work-sharing programs, is either cost neutral to the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, or has produced savings. This analysis does not even take into account the federal government’s implementation and outreach grants and its reimbursement period — the latter could save the state millions.

So, why after three years’ worth of legislative efforts does the Indiana General Assembly continue to fail to protect Hoosier jobs? From the Indiana Chamber of Commerce:

“… [T]he bill was scratched from the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee schedule by its chairman, amid opposition from the Department of Workforce Development and belief the Governor was not yet onboard with the program — despite voting for the federal work-share bill when he was in Congress.”

It’s mathematically reasonable to assume another downturn is right around the corner. With work-sharing, forward-thinking lawmakers can implement this bipartisan, cost-friendly and common sense solution immediately to, as the saying goes, start to fix the roof while the sun is (relatively) shining.

Derek Thomas is senior policy analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families. Contact him at dthomas@incap.org.

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