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. 

TVA Helps STEM Students Through CADnet Program

As a 17-year-old student at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in north Georgia, Kellie Keith had a dream—to be the first in her family to earn a college degree. Like many of her classmates she was struggling with answering one basic question: What degree should she pursue? “The TVA CADNet program was a godsend,” says Ms. Keith, now an electrical engineer in TVA’s Telecom ... (click for more)

City of Cleveland Receives Award For Financial Excellence

The city of Cleveland's financial staff has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. It is the 28th consecutive year the city has received this national recognition from the association. "It shows that our folks are good stewards of the public's funds," said Mayor Tom Rowland. ... (click for more)

State Board In Nashville Approves New Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital

Members of the board of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency in Nashville on Wednesday unanimously approved a new $25 million Behavioral Health Hospital planned by Erlanger Health Systems on Holzclaw Avenue.   Parkridge Valley Hospital and CADAS had opposed the issuance of Certificate of Need.  The 88-bed facility will provide "acute adult inpatient ... (click for more)

TDEC Defends Its Operation Of Septic Permit Office In Bradley County; Backs Hank Thompson

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) defended the operation of its septic permit office in Bradley County, including the work of manager Hank Thompson. The Bradley County Commission is studying whether to take over the operation of the office, saying there have been a number of complaints against Mr. Thompson and that he recently kicked Commissioner ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)