Oklahoma lawmaker wants to stop unemployment tax hikes

Published: November 13, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The chairman of the Oklahoma Senate's Business and Commerce Committee says he's looking for ways to stop dramatic increases in recent years in the unemployment taxes that employers pay.

Republican state Sen. Dan Newberry of Tulsa held an interim legislative study Wednesday before his committee to review rates and conduct an overview of the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission. One of that agency's responsibilities is collecting unemployment taxes from businesses and paying benefits to jobless workers.

Newberry says the average unemployment tax rate for Oklahoma businesses spiked from 2010 to 2012, and he wants to stop those increases. While he says some of that likely resulted from recession-related layoffs, Newberry says he wants to explore complaints from employers that some workers fired for just cause are collecting benefits.