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Wisconsin Governor Evers Signs Bill Freezing UI Tax Rates Through 2023

By Misha Lee, MHA Wisconsin Lobbyist

As employers continue to recover from the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin Republican-controlled state legislature and Democratic governor have finally found common ground this session to help try and ease the burden on Main Street businesses. Governor Tony Evers signed legislation this summer that prevents an increase in Unemployment Insurance (UI) contribution rates on employers through 2023. This is a positive development for businesses all throughout Wisconsin.

Assembly Bill 406, now known as 2021 Wisconsin Act 59, passed both houses of the state legislature unanimously with no opposition. The newly enacted legislation:

  • Prevents the increase of unemployment insurance tax rates on employers by ensuring the state remains in Schedule D for tax years 2022 and 2023; and
  • Requires $60 million of General Purpose Revenues (GPR) to be transferred into the UI trust fund in each fiscal year of the 2021-23 biennium to offset any lost revenue

By way of a little background, under state law most private employers are required to make regular payments to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program at a rate determined by state statute. State law requires two types of payments - contribution payments and solvency payments. Both types of payments are tied to one of four schedules (A-D) with Schedule A containing the highest rates for employers to pay and Schedule D containing the lowest rates. The balance of the Unemployment Reserve Fund on June 30th of each year determines which schedule will be in effect for the next calendar year. State law specifies that Schedule D is in effect for any calendar year whenever, as of the preceding June 30th, the fund has a cash balance of at least $1,200,000,000. Schedule D is in effect for calendar year 2021.

See new employer Schedule D Unemployment Insurance tax rates for 2021 here. The legislature is in summer recess until late September when they will reconvene for the fall legislative session.

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