Representative Kathy LaNatra Votes in Favor of Legislation Providing Relief to Small Businesses, Workers and Job-seekers affected by COVID-19
Boston (March 15, 2021) – State Representative Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston) joined her colleagues in support of legislation that will provide much needed relief to small businesses, workers and those looking for work.
The legislation, titled H.89 – An Act financing a program for improvements to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and providing relief to employers and workers in the Commonwealth was passed by the House on March 11 by a unanimous vote of 155-0. House Bill 89 builds upon a bill filed by Governor Baker that would protect employers from the scheduled unemployment insurance rate increase set for April.
“Constituents asking for assistance navigating the unemployment system were the most frequent request sent into my office this past year,” said Rep. LaNatra. She added, “The legislation passed last week shores up the finances of the unemployment trust fund, protecting people who have lost their job because of this devastating pandemic. The bill also provides much-needed relief to employers and small businesses throughout the Commonwealth.”
Key provisions of the bill include forgiveness of paycheck protection program (PPP) loans in line with the federal tax code. Currently, many small business owners would have to pay personal income tax on their forgiven PPP loans. The legislation freezes the unemployment insurance rate paid by employers at its 2020 level for the next two years, staving off a scheduled increase that would have gone into effect in April of this year.
The bill also provides many protections for workers who have lost their job due to the pandemic. The bill creates a tax credit for people who received unemployment compensation and whose household income was 200% or less than the federal poverty line. The legislation also allows for borrowing to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund.
The legislation provides many other protections for workers throughout the Commonwealth including a COVID-19 Emergency paid sick leave, which fills in gaps of the Federal COVID paid sick leave program. House Bill 89 waives the tax penalty for those who fail to remit income taxes on unemployment compensation for the 2020 tax year.
The bill now heads to the Senate.