(Raleigh, N.C.) – During the August meeting of the North Carolina Council of State (COS) earlier today, Gov. Roy Cooper indicated that when additional federal unemployment payments end in September, state unemployment payments will return to their normal levels. The Governor’s statement came after State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, and other members of the COS spoke about the devastating impact the extended benefits are having on employers across the state.
“Every business owner - no matter their race, creed, color or political affiliation - is asking how we can continue to pay into a system that forces us to compete with federal benefits by taxing people who are working, and then using the money for those who don’t,” Treasurer Folwell said. “The policy is no longer about compassion and generosity, but justice and certainty. At the end of the day, employers across the state who have suffered for over a year during COVID cannot operate without employees. We’re in an employment crisis.”
As part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in 2020, states were given the option to expand their ability to provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic including an additional $300 per week from the federal government. Many feel that the extra payments are preventing people from returning to work. In fact, 25 states have already ended the extra benefit for workers.
Treasurer Folwell was assistant secretary of commerce and head of the N.C. Division of Employment Security (DES) from 2013 to 2015. During Treasurer Folwell’s tenure at DES, $2.5 billion in debt was paid back to the federal government, resulting in significant decreases in surcharges that were assessed on employers.
“Letting these extended benefits expire is the best thing we could do to help employers get reopened,” said Treasurer Folwell. “I get calls every day from small businesses that say they can’t get people to work because it’s more profitable for them to stay home. They can’t compete against the federal government. As former Gov. Martin always says, ‘doing right, is never wrong.’ This is right for the upward mobility of North Carolinians.”
The North Carolina Department of State Treasurer (DST) administers the employee retirement systems for more than 950,000 public workers, along with their 401(k), 457 and 403(b) plans. DST manages the pension plans’ investments currently totaling $120 billion. It also oversees the State Health Plan, which provides health care coverage to more than 750,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel, and their dependents. Fiscal assistance and expertise are provided by the department to local governmental units by aiding them in the sale of local government debt obligations and in maintaining sound budgeting, accounting and reporting procedures. The department also administers the NC Cash unclaimed property database.
For more information, visit www.nctreasurer.com.