New Georgia law to raise unemployment contributions
by Mark Andrews
Dec 30, 2012 | 2228 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia HB 347 will take effect Jan.1 and will require employers to begin paying unemployment taxes on the first $9,500 of taxable wages, up from $8,500 of wages — the standard taxable wage base for the last 20-plus years.

“It definitely means we’ll take in more money ... but of course everything changes at some point, because with the economy you just need more revenue and there has been a lot of talk in the federal government about the taxable wage base for states and what each state’s taxable wage base is,” Georgia Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Director Brenda Brown said. “I can tell you that Georgia has actually one of the lowest [taxable wage bases] in our region.”

South Carolina has a taxable wage base of $12,000 and North Carolina has a base of about $20,900, she said, adding Florida, Tennessee and Alabama have a lower taxable wage base than Georgia.

A company with the lowest current tax rate of .04 percent previously paid $3.40 in taxes per employee beginning at the first $8,500 in taxable wages, but under the new formula will pay $3.80. A company with the highest current tax rate of 8.10 percent will see their contribution jump from $688.50 to $769.

New employers, which Brown said hold their rate for three years, will see their rate of 2.70 percent call for an increase from $229.50 to $256.60 under the new formula.

“Certainly there are other states in our region with a higher taxable wage base than we have, so even though we’ve gone up about $1,000, we’re still not really in line with some of the states in our region,” Brown said. “But it does mean employers will have to pay a little more per employee.”

The current unemployment rate in Bartow County is 8.3 percent, compared to the state rate of 8.5 percent and the national unemployment rate of 7.7 percent. There were 47,351 initial unemployment insurance claims in November.