Unemployment Reforms Bear Fruit Officials Say

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) on Thursday announced that a rise in the state’s unemployment trust fund has triggered a considerable tax cut for employers across Tennessee.

Reforms championed by Lt. Governor Ramsey and sponsored by Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) have eliminated waste, fraud and abuse in the system resulting in substantial trust fund savings.

“As I’ve traveled across Tennessee working with job creators to make Tennessee the best place to own and operate a business, employers always told me the same thing: reform our unemployment system,” said Lt.
Governor Ramsey. “The General Assembly answered that call by passing many cost-saving reforms over the past few years. Today, job creators start seeing the results of our actions in their bottom line through cuts in their unemployment taxes.”

Tennessee’s unemployment fund balance rose to over $800 million surpassing the benchmark of $650 million which triggers the elimination of the 0.6% surcharge instituted in 2009 and lowers the tax rate overall for all employers in the system.

“This is truly outstanding news,” said Senator Johnson. “It is fantastic to see our reforms provide a significant tax cut for job creators. Every dollar saved in reduced unemployment tax is a dollar that can be used to expand existing businesses and hire more workers. These reforms clearly benefit not only the job creator but the job seeker as well.”

The General Assembly passed two reforms in the last few years that played a direct role in increasing the trust fund.

The Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012 (Public Chapter 1050) strengthened the definition of employee misconduct to ensure that those who have been fired for cause no longer receive benefits. The act also enacted new work search requirements for unemployment beneficiaries and provided for random audits to ensure the integrity of beneficiaries' job searches.

Public Chapter 427 (passed in 2013) updated the unemployment misconduct definition to include conduct constituting a criminal offense for which the claimant has been convicted or charged. Additionally, the chapter mandates departmental training of unemployment hearing officers as well as increasing weekly audits from 1,000 to 1,500. 

Supreme Court Determines Rental Car Qualifies As Uninsured Motor Vehicle

The Tennessee Supreme Court has determined that a car rented from a national self-insured car rental agency qualifies as an “uninsured motor vehicle” for purposes of an insurance claim filed by a Williamson County man. This case involves a lawsuit file by Edward Martin after he was struck by a vehicle driven by Gregory Powers, a patron of the bar Mr. Martin owns. Mr. Martin ... (click for more)

Southern Heritage Bank Continues Local Deposit Growth

For the sixth consecutive year, Southern Heritage Bank has grown its market share of deposits in Bradley County, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation annual summary of insured deposits. Retaining second place, Southern Heritage reported 15.6 percent ($233.7 million) in local deposit market share just behind First Tennessee Bank’s 15.7 percent ($235.1 million).  ... (click for more)

Man Being Pursued By Catoosa County Deputies Is Killed After Crash At Ringgold Road Overpass

A man who was being pursued by Catoosa County deputies was killed late Monday night when he crashed his vehicle at the Ringgold Road overpass. The interstate was shut down for an extended period after the accident at 11:20 p.m. The truck driven by the man careened off the overpass and landed on the northbound lanes of I-75. The truck hit the center wall and caught fire. ... (click for more)

Gang Member, 22, Shot In The Arm On Wilcox Boulevard Early Tuesday Morning

A 22-year-old man was shot in the arm in the 1800 block of Wilcox Boulevard early Tuesday morning. Just after midnight, Chattanooga Police responded to a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, police located Jakobi Buthelezi Johnson suffering from a very minor, single gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment. The victim ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Southerners Sing

Barry Norris plays the organ at Birmingham’s East Lake United Methodist Church and two days ago the church hosted what we used to call “A Singing on the Grounds.” Today it is called a “Hymnfest” and, believe it or not, it is has to be just as fun today as it was 100 years ago when our forefathers tied their horse and wagon to a tree. It just so happens I know a little bit about ... (click for more)