In a press release on Thursday, the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce called for immediate relief for the unemployment insurance surcharges being handed out to New York businesses.

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In a previous story, it was reported that New York businesses statewide are receiving Interest Assessment Surcharge bills as the state pays back the $9.1 billion loan it took from the federal government to cover unemployment insurance payments during the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses will be required to pay the surcharge annually until the loan is repaid, and most businesses would be charged $27.60 per employee with payment due at the end of September.

The Chamber of Commerce, alongside state leaders, local businesses and Upstate United, are calling for relief because New York did not use any of the federal stimulus money it received to replenish the state's Unemployment Trust Fund. They say with current inflation concerns, small businesses have no way to pay the surcharges, which have ranged from ones to tens of thousands of dollars.

Sam Lupo, Owner of Sam A. Lupo & Son's, Inc., stated "After almost two years of facing increased operational costs coupled with significant workforce shortages, our company received a sizeable bill from the New York State Department of Labor for the state's Unemployment Insurance Assessment Surcharge. Unnecessary bills like this set small businesses up for failure and cause us to increase consumer costs and penalize our employees with limited hours and layoffs, just to keep our doors open."

Stacey Duncan, CEO of the Leadership Alliance, a partnership between the Broome and the Greater Binghamton Chamber and The Agency, said "We urged New York to use it's own funds to replenish the UI Trust Fund so that our businesses would not be asked to pay. Now, the IAS crisis has placed an undue burden on businesses during a time we should be focusing on policy and programmatic decisions on supporting their economic resurgence."

Assemblymembers Joe Angelino and Donna Lupardo and State Senator Fred Akshar were in attendance, and the call from relief is said to have bi-partisan support in both the Senate and Assembly.

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