Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, said it will help ensure the taxes businesses pay into the unemployment insurance trust fund do not rise, “so that we can have a state where employers thrive, employees are protected and we have a fund that continues to be stable.”
Democrats on the committee cited multiple reasons for voting against the bill. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, objected to ending extra benefits for workers with large families.
“A person with three or four children ought to get a little bit more than somebody who only has one. They’re expenses are greater and in this bill you get rid of that,” Dotzler said. “…Way to go.”
Senator Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, objected to doing away with the extra 13 weeks of benefits for workers who lose their jobs because a business closes.
“Nobody likes to have an unemployment system — except for when you need it,” Taylor said.
The bill would require laid off workers to wait a week before filing for unemployment. Workers would no longer receive benefits if they turn down a job offer, even if the job pays less than their previous job.
Schultz, in final remarks on the bill during today’s committee meeting, said Iowa’s unemployment system has “generous” benefits.
“You can take the low cost of living in Iowa, the benefits we pay out of our unemployment insurance trust fund and we are at the absolute top,” Schultz said. “After this bill, despite what you heard, we are still at the top.”
The bill is now eligible for debate in the full Senate and a similar bill is ready for debate in the House.