CHARLESTON, WV – Under the leadership and expert financial guidance of Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia has become one of the first states in the nation to fully repay the unemployment insurance loan that the U.S. Treasury provided to states under Section XII of the federal Social Security Act at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to shore up unemployment trust fund balances.
Gov. Justice’s sound fiscal maneuvering throughout the pandemic allowed West Virginia officials to add $220 million to the State’s unemployment trust fund. As a result, not only was WorkForce West Virginia able to repay the full Treasury loan amount of $185 million, but the State is also now positioned to provide West Virginia businesses with a reduction of unemployment insurance costs by up to 25% next year.
“This is going to be a massive reduction in costs for our West Virginia businesses and I could not be more proud of everyone who put in all the licks that made this possible,” Gov. Justice said.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, I knew that we had to plan for both the short-term and the long-term to ensure our state could rebound as quickly as possible and continue to build on all our recent successes,” Gov. Justice continued. “That’s why, at first, we ran to the fire. We made sure that West Virginians were among the first in the nation to receive the extra $600-per-week unemployment benefit. And then, once we got our feet back under us, we budgeted responsibly. We started to see month after month of revenue surpluses and, eventually, we were able to put away enough money to not only fully pay back this loan, but also to set our businesses up in a great position moving forward.”
If the loan had not been paid off before Sept. 4, 2021, West Virginia employers would have experienced a mandatory increase in their unemployment insurance premiums.
“I continue to be in awe of Governor Justice’s ability to take financial circumstances that seem dire and completely turn things around to create a positive situation,” said West Virginia Department of Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch. “The Governor and so many of our state’s top economic officials have spent the last year-and-a-half creating a master plan to keep West Virginia on the move through the pandemic and beyond. Now, you’re seeing that plan being executed to perfection and, in this circumstance, our business leaders will reap the rewards by being able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their bank accounts.”
“Under the sound fiscal leadership of Gov. Justice, the State of West Virginia has not only repaid its loan, but has also avoided future interest payments and strengthened West Virginia’s Unemployment Trust Fund position,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “This is really a win-win for everyone in the entire state.”