HD30 - Report of the Joint Subcommittee Studying the Funding Requirements of the Virginia Unemployment Trust Fund

Executive Summary:

The Joint Subcommittee Studying the Funding Requirements of the Virginia Unemployment Trust was established by Senate Joint Resolution 133 in 1977 to review the current status of, and long-term projections for, Virginia's unemployment trust fund. The joint subcommittee has subsequently been continued by resolutions of the General Assembly. The most recent continuation of the joint subcommittee was by House Joint Resolution 611 of the 2001 Session (Appendix A).

Since its establishment, the joint subcommittee's primary functions have been to receive briefings by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) on the status of the Unemployment Trust Fund and to review and recommend revisions to the Unemployment Compensation Act. However, HJR 611 expanded the scope of the joint subcommittee's duties by directing it to conduct an examination of Virginia's unemployment compensation system. Specific issues that the joint subcommittee was directed to address include (i) the current formula for determining solvency of the Unemployment Trust Fund, (ii) employee benefit eligibility criteria, (iii) the rationale for benefit levels, (iv) the propriety of regional or extended benefit features, (v) the appropriateness and sufficiency of pool charges, (vi) the propriety of diversion of revenue to job training or economic development programs, and (vii) the current tax schedules for employers. This resolution incorporates House Joint Resolution 784 of the 2001 Session, patroned by Delegate Hull, which directed the joint subcommittee to also study the means of calculating the weekly amount of unemployment compensation benefits for displaced employees, and examine the methods used by other states to determine an employee's weekly benefit amount, including the indexing of unemployment benefits and the minimum and maximum benefit amounts provided by those states. In order to assist the joint subcommittee in its analysis of Virginia's unemployment compensation system, the resolution provided that an estimated $100,000 shall be borne by the VEC for actuarial or consulting services.

The following General Assembly members were appointed to the joint subcommittee upon the passage of HJR 611: Senator Chichester from Stafford, Senator Y. B. Miller from Norfolk, Senator Puckett from Buchanan, Senator Wampler from Bristol, Senator Watkins from Chesterfield, Delegate Armstrong from Martinsville, Delegate Hull from Falls Church, Delegate Katzen from Fauquier, Delegate Kilgore from Scott, Delegate Purkey from Virginia Beach, Delegate Rust from Fairfax, and Delegate Spruill from Chesapeake. Following the departures of Delegates Rust and Katzen from the General Assembly prior to the 2002 Session, Delegate Nixon from Chesterfield and Delegate Ware from Powhatan were appointed to the joint subcommittee. At the subcommittee's meeting on December 20, 2001, Senator Watkins was elected chairman and Delegate Purkey was elected vice chairman.