N.J. unemployment benefits targeted for cuts

    New Jersey could become less generous to workers laid off in the future.
    Governor Chris Christie is calling for shrinking unemployment payouts and making a change in how businesses pay into the unemployment fund itself

    New Jersey could become less generous to workers laid off in the future.
    Governor Chris Christie is calling for shrinking unemployment payouts and making a change in how businesses pay into the unemployment fund itself.

    [audio:100225PGUI.mp3]

    An automatic increase in the business payroll tax will take effect July 1 to provide money for the depleted New Jersey Unemployment Insurance fund. The Governor says that tax increase amounting to an average of $400 for each employee will act as a wet blanket on job growth. Christie wants that increase to be phased in. He’s also proposing that the weekly unemployment benefit for those who lose their jobs in the future go down by $50 to $550 a week.

    Christie: We’re not talking about a drastic or draconian cut here. We’re talking about taking us from the second most generous benefits in America to the third most generous benefits in
    America.

    Christie’s plan would require legislative approval. That may not happen.
    Senate President Steve Sweeney says the idea of cutting unemployment benefits is a total nonstarter that will not find its way through the Senate doors.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.