UPDATE: Crist signs unemployment compensation tax defermentby Dara Kam | March 2nd, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a tax break for businesses ten minutes before he began his state-of-the-state speech this evening.
The measure (HB 7033) will delay about $1.8 billion in unemployment tax payments for Florida businesses that will jump from $8 per worker to $100 per employee on April 1.
The higher tax rate kicks in in April because the number of jobless workers in Florida, among the highest in the nation, has wiped out the trust fund that pays for unemployment benefits.
Putting off the tax hike for two years means that Florida lawmakers today agreed to continue to borrow from the federal government to replenish the fund and rack up $675 million in interest payments. Those costs will be passed on to businesses over the next five years.
“Decisions are being made as we speak. Business owners are trying to determine what they’re going to do next to be able to deal with this Friday’s pay roll. This is what this bill’s about,” said Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah.
The Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7033), which the House also unanimously passed earlier today.