Jan 19
State Representative John W. Scibak  joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation that freezes a scheduled increase in the unemployment insurance assessment paid by all employers.  “In these tough economic times, it remains ever important that the House pass legislation to help stimulate business expansion and create job opportunities,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “As Massachusetts continues to emerge from this trying recession, the House vows to keep these important values atop our priority list.” “As Massachusetts continues to navigate the current global recession, we must balance our support of job growth with our commitment to programs that offer assistance and support in our communities,” said Representative Dempsey. “This must be done in a responsible manner as the Commonwealth deals with difficult budget constraints.”  The unemployment system run by the commonwealth is primarily funded by the state’s employers. By law, as the funds in the unemployment system become depleted, employers’ contributions would increase. Freezing the rate at Schedule E will save the average employer $141 per employee and workers would continue to receive the same benefits under this rate freeze. The bill also provides $35 million to the MassHealth Senior Care Adult Day Health program. Adult Day Health centers are assistance centers that provide care for seniors during the day when other family members or caregivers may have to work or handle other responsibilities. This funding will extend adult day health services until July 1, 2012. The legislation also directs $21.2 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. During the cold of winter, this funding appropriated to LIHEAP will heat the homes of low-income elders, working families, and many other households.