Repost from The Virginia Star.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a deal aimed at cracking down on fraudulent unemployment claims, a move that garnered support from members of the business community.
The governor and Attorney General Jason Miyares signed an agreement with the Virginia Employment Commission, which allows the attorney general to represent the VEC in the prosecution of criminal unemployment compensation fraud cases.
“The VEC has asked that I take on this responsibility, and I enthusiastically agreed to the VEC’s request,” Miyares said in a statement. “Protecting the Commonwealth from crime is one of my top priorities as Attorney General. Fraudulent claims must be prosecuted and fraud on the unemployment fund diverts resources from those who need them most.”
Some members of the business community welcomed the crackdown on fraudulent claims to ensure that businesses don’t get stuck with the bill. Under the commonwealth’s tax code, the Unemployment Trust Fund is funded primarily through payroll taxes from employers. The funding formula automatically increases taxes on businesses when the fund starts to dry out so it can maintain money for unemployment payments. This means more unemployment payments through fraudulent claims could end up penalizing businesses.
The National Federation of Independent Business released a statement thanking Youngkin and Miyares after the announcement. The group, which is the largest small business association in the country, said a crackdown could help prevent tax increases on small businesses, which are still suffering from losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on the economy.
One of the planks in the NFIB’s Small Business Recovery Program, which it asked lawmakers to consider during the legislative session, was ensuring that businesses are not held liable for overpayments and fraudulent payments made by the Virginia Employment Commission.