House passes unemployment compensation bill

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) The House voted unanimously Friday to approve a bill increasing unemployment compensation to Alaska workers.

HB305 provides for an 8.2 percent increase in the maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount to be phased in over a three-year period.

Alaska currently ranks 47th in the nation with a maximum weekly benefit of $248. The bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Anchorage, would increase the weekly benefit to $308, making Alaska 28th in the nation. Employer tax rates would not be affected until 2010.

Rep. Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage, spoke in favor of the bill. He said Alaska has been losing experienced workers to other states and this law will help to keep them here.

Rep. Bill Williams, R-Saxman, said the bill will help Alaska's seasonal workers.

The bill still must pass in the Senate.

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