Florida Chamber: State hiking unemployment taxes

Florida Chamber: State hiking unemployment taxes
Florida Chamber: State hiking unemployment taxes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Chamber of Commerce says it has been told by the state that unemployment taxes will go up next year by almost 200 percent, but so far the state is mum on the increase.

On March 1, Florida’s trust fund for paying unemployment claims sat at just over $4 billion. But by the end of November, it was down more than 75 percent to just under $1 billion.

To replenish the fund, Carolyn Johnson, the director of business, economic development & innovation policy at the Florida Chamber, said the state has indicated minimum rates will increase by almost 200 percent.

“This is coupled with businesses hurting due to the pandemic,” Johnson said.

Employers with the best record will see the tax go from $7 an employee to $20.30.

“Every employer that’s not at the minimum or maximum will have a rate based based off the number of layoffs over the last three years,” Johnson said.

The Chamber said it was given the new rates by the Department of Revenue, but the Department hasn’t officially released anything and did not respond to requests for comment left by email and phone.

The January hike is a far cry from the great recession when the lowest rate skyrocketed by more than $100 per employee. But the Chamber said it would still present a major hit to businesses.

“If you’re an employer with 100 employees, you’re seeing a $1,300 tax increase that you might not have expected coming Jan. 1,” Johnson said.

The Chamber said layoffs made because of the pandemic will not count against an employers’ records because an executive order exempted them. The increase comes as businesses must also cope with a higher minimum wage starting Sept. 1, 2021.