The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 6, 2009

Jobless bill backed by coalition; hearing sought

(Continued)



The idea is to keep the fund from falling below $180 million, and preferably kept near the $220 million level.

In recent weeks, more storm clouds have gathered. Manchin was forced to downsize revenue estimates by $200 million and impose a hiring freeze in state government.

Wilson and others at a news conference see a sense of urgency in putting the fund on solid footing.

“Labor’s concern is that some in the business community have totally forgotten the lessons learned from the Great Depression of the last century,” he said. “The business community will never find a good time to properly fund the unemployment compensation program,” he said.

If the Legislature fails on this bill, predicted Paul Miller, representing the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, the fund will go belly up by the third quarter of next year.

“It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when,” he added.

Angie Rosser, representing the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the Senate bill would have a positive effect on victims she represents.

Violence haunts victims in the work place, exposing them to abuse, harassment, and terrorism, Rosser said.

She suggested one reform providing temporary assistance for anyone forced out of the work site by a stalker or abuser.

The Rev. James Patterson of the Institute Church of the Nazarene told reporters that “a great deal of people in my community” hold part-time jobs.

“This legislation and subsequent reforms should allow these people to have some safety nets and funds that see their families and children through this economic downturn that we’re facing,” the pastor added.

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