Topeka A bill that could reduce benefits to some unemployed Kansans while cutting unemployment rates paid by new employers was approved Thursday in the Kansas House.
Republicans touted House Bill 2638 as a way to increase new business activity in Kansas, while Democrats said the measure was "crazy." It was approved 85-39.
Under the bill, if a jobless person receives a single lump-sum separation or severance payment, then weekly unemployment benefits would be postponed for a period of time commensurate with the number of weeks of compensation that the lump sum would represent.
And for new employers, the bill, supported by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, would reduce the unemployment insurance contribution rate.
State Rep. Mike Slattery, D-Mission, said since Kansas was borrowing daily from the federal government to pay unemployment insurance benefits, it didn't make sense to cut employer rates.
"We are currently not able to meet our UI bills, and yet the bill in front of you will further reduce our ability to pay our UI bills. How does this make sense?," Slattery asked. "This is crazy," he said.
But state Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, disagreed. "This bill is another jobs creation bill for Kansas," he said. He said the measure will lure more businesses into the state, create more jobs and help the UI fund become solvent.
The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.