INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bill that could help cut out a growing tax hike hitting Hoosier businesses got lukewarm reception from a key voice on the issue Monday. Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders told I-Team 8 heâ€™s not convinced the plan is the stateâ€™s best move.
Since 2009, Indiana has been borrowing money from the federal government in order to continue paying its unemployment claims. The Department of Labor now lists the stateâ€™s debt at nearly $1.8 billion.
Six other statesâ€”Idaho, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvaniaâ€”have already taken that approach.
But, not all lawmakers believe the approach would end up saving Hoosier employers any money in the long run.
On Monday, Sanders told I-Team 8 heâ€™s not convinced either way.
â€śAt this point, our agency continues to look at all options, which is what I believe the legislative body continues to do. But, I believe she may have filed that bill last year as well, potentially as the year before when HB 1450 was actually passed. So, we'll continue to look at that and hopefully make the right choices for Indiana employers,â€ť Sanders said.
Asked if DWD was open to the idea of issuing bonds, Sanders nodded.
â€śWe continue to look at it and always forecast out what we believe our unemployment insurance debt will be, as well as payments received by employers. So, I think we'll continue to analyze it,â€ť he said.
Tallianâ€™s bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, but has not been scheduled for a hearing.
COMPUTER MODERNIZATION PROJECT
Also Monday, the agency said it has completed work on a project to upgrade computers running the stateâ€™s unemployment filing system.
Documents obtained last month by I-Team 8 show the state signed another $6 million contract extension with California based Haverstick Consulting on the project in December, bringing the total cost of the project to nearly $52 million as it approaches five years past its original completion date. The cost overruns have now reached more than twice the original $24 million budgeted for the work.
Just two weeks ago, department spokesman Joe Frank told I-Team 8 that the project had not been completed yet, and that DWD had no timeline for completion of it. On Monday, he said the work is now done.
â€śThe contracts with Haverstick have been fulfilled,â€ť Frank said. â€śAll we're doing now is basically like Microsoft does with Windows. When there's an update needed, we put out a new update to the software.â€ť
Pressed on the need for the new $6 million contract that lasts through the end of 2013, Frank again said the work was completed.
â€śAll contracts that we had outstanding have been executed,â€ť he said. â€śAs far as I understand from our agency, it's been executed.â€ť
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