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New York State’s budget is due in a few days and local business leaders are calling for Unemployment Insurance relief to be included.

The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce is among those calling for state leaders to allocate $2-billion to the state Unemployment Insurance fund and lower employers’ Unemployment Insurance rates to pre-pandemic levels for two years.

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The group says the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund, or U-I, ran out of money at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when close to 2-million New Yorkers were left without jobs.  The employer-based organizations say the state borrowed $11.9-billion from the federal government to pay its UI costs, has paid some of that back, but still owes around $9-billion.

Executive Director of “Upstate United”, Justin Wilcox says employers outside of New York City can’t afford to take a multi-billion dollar hit associated with the state’s unemployment insurance debt while already dealing with labor shortages, supply chain shortages and increased costs.

A bill to lower UI rates passed the New York State Senate earlier this year and has yet to be acted on by the Assembly.

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