LANSING — House Democrats unveiled a plan today to strengthen unemployment protections and restore benefits, allowing Michiganders to focus on finding a new job without worrying about how they’re going to pay bills or put food on the table. The package of bills focuses on improving the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) system so it can handle a forecasted recession, ensuring accountability for employers not paying their UIA tax, and making whole those falsely accused of fraud. In response, state Rep. Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit), whose House Bill 4903 would exempt UIA benefits from gross income tax, issued the following statement:

“No one expects to be laid off because their plant gets closed or their job gets shipped overseas, and so if they need support while looking for new work they shouldn’t be penalized because of a decision their employer made. That’s why we need to ensure that unemployment benefits aren’t counted against those who need them when assessing tax liability. Without a reform like this, a system intended to help people get back on their feet has the potential to leave them worse off than when they started.”