News Columns & Blogs

No time to cut unemployment benefits

Kansas businesses needed relief from the crushing increase in unemployment taxes, which is why it was a relief to see the Senate and Gov. Mark Parkinson come together Thursday on an emergency fix. Perhaps Republicans such as state Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, were trying to be prudent in proposing to ease up not only on the scheduled collection of taxes from businesses but also on the payout of benefits. But this is not a time to punish the unemployed by scaling back benefits, especially because one cause of the crisis was the Legislature's lack of foresight. In good times over the past 15 years that lawmakers apparently expected to go on forever, they variously reduced and even halted unemployment taxes, saving businesses $842 million.