Letters: Schapira's logic doesn't work in real world - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letters: Schapira's logic doesn't work in real world

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Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:00 am

David Schapira, D-Tempe, was 100 percent wrong about unemployment benefits in his guest editorial ("AZ Republicans putting ideology ahead of problems", June 10). I've owned an actual bricks-and-mortar business of 10 employees for 14 years. Employers like me pay 100 percent of unemployment insurance taxes in Arizona, not Schapira's mythical employees "paying into the system."

Unemployment insurance is an insurance product where experience ratings determine my business's relative tax vs. other employers' taxes. The more my former employees draw unemployment, the higher my set-aside rates are. Employers never see that money again, regardless of how well we take care of our employees. Moreover, employers like me pay unemployment to both Arizona (dedicated toward the first 26 weeks of benefits) and the federal government. Combined, Arizona and the feds charge employers more than 3 percent on the first $7,000 of pay for each of their employees.

It's true, extended benefits currently are being paid from the feds' general fund - which these days means more debt; but how that debt is reimbursed is still "our problem" as businesses and taxpayers. We don't differentiate between a dollar taken as federal tax vis-a-vis state tax as the governor and legislators do. They seem to think if it doesn't come out of state funds, it must be free, right? Bottom line: Keeping Arizonans on unemployment prolongs the ill effects and adversity of our sick market. It aggravates job recovery by spiraling down a deepening debt which makes recovery even more uncertain. David Schapira should recognize who's really paying for these benefits instead of making specious claims about pots of "free money."

Wendy Rogers, Tempe

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