$8 Million More Available for WET Fund
Tax Swap Makes $8 Million More Available for Workforce Training
JACKSON, Miss. — The Senate passed SB 2722, which will put another $8 million in the Workforce Enhancement Training (WET) Fund for job training.
The WET Fund is supported by a tax paid by Mississippi employers. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security collects the WET Fund tax and distributes the money to the state’s community colleges to provide workforce training. The tax, which is based on the number of people working and the amount of their wages, was expected to produce about $20 million annually for the training program. The amount, however, has declined because of the recession.
Last year, MDES partnered with the IRS to intercept the federal income tax refunds of individuals who had received fraudulent overpayments of unemployment benefits. That intercept program returned $12 million to the state’s Unemployment Benefits Trust Fund.
Because of that extra money in the Unemployment Benefits Trust Fund, MDES worked with the Legislature to produce SB 2722. That legislation will reduce the unemployment tax rate and increase the WET Fund tax by the same amount for one year. That slight adjustment will not affect the total amount paid by the employer, but will add $8 million to the WET Fund this year.
According to Mark Henry, MDES Executive Director, "The net impact of SB 2722 is that employers will pay about $10 less in unemployment taxes per employee and about $10 more in WET Fund taxes per employee. The benefit is that more money will be available for our community college partners to train Mississippians for high-demand jobs."
SB 2722 was sponsored by Senators Joey Fillingane, Terry C. Burton, Steve Hale, and John A. Polk, and was handled on the Senate floor by Senator Will Longwitz.