On the Legislative Audit Council's report released today, we'd say three things:
One, the report again highlights the gross incompetence and lack of accountability that have infested the Employment Security Commission. As we've made clear for more than a year and a half now, these shortcomings have real world consequences. Over roughly the last decade the ESC has, contrary to federal guidance, drained its Unemployment Trust Fund to the tune of $600,000 per day * creating an almost billion dollar deficit for which the state's businesses and taxpayers are ultimately responsible. Indeed, if this Fund had been managed in the private sector, this level of ineptitude could well merit criminal charges.
Two, it's worth noting that if the ESC had made a few targeted changes to the way they do business, this collapse could have been in part averted. For example, the ESC stopped filtering out fraudulent unemployment claims back in 2008 * costing taxpayers more than $7 million. Moreover, the ESC inexplicably paid out over $171 million to people who were fired for good reasons * including actually being sent to jail, and abuse * over just the last three years. This stands in stark contrast to many of our neighboring states' refusal to send checks to those who were fired for appropriate reasons.