AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Workforce Commission is tripling the unemployment tax nearly two-thirds of the state's businesses will pay per employee each year.
The minimum tax is going up from $23.40 per worker to $64.80 under rates announced Tuesday. The commission says the minimum rate is paid by nearly 255,000 employers, or 67 percent of those in business at least a year.
The taxes feed the state's unemployment trust fund, which has been depleted by a high number of jobless claims. The state already has borrowed about $1 billion interest-free from the federal government to help keep the fund afloat.
Just counting state-paid unemployment benefits - not federally funded extensions - Texas is paying $68.6 million a week in unemployment benefits compared with $33.6 million a year ago.
About 700,000 Texans currently are receiving unemployment benefits, including those funded by the state and federal government.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)