Friday, June 5, 2009
John Lesinski: Solutions, not Slogans
HARRISONBURG - John Lesinski, who's seeking to unseat Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, says he has a way to extend unemployment benefits in Virginia that would end a partisan battle over the state's rejection of $125 million in federal aid.
From the steps of the Page County Courthouse in Luray on Thursday, Lesin-ski proposed that the state offer small businesses a tax credit to pay for their additional costs if the federal money is accepted.
The plan would cost the state about $10 million, said Lesinski, who offered no details on how the state would pay for the program.
Lesinski's proposal would allow businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers to apply for the tax credits.
The businesses could apply for up to 150 percent of the unemployment insurance tax increase to pay for providing unemployment benefits to part-time employees.
Unemployment benefits are paid out of a state fund that includes business contributions.
"As a result, small businesses would see a net reduction in taxes and the commonwealth would receive an additional $125 million to support the unemployed," Lesinski said in a prepared statement released Thursday.
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Campaign Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Solution Found for VA Unemployment Debate
Luray, VA - June 4, 2009 - John Lesinski, Democratic Candidate for Virginia's 15th District House of Delegates, will today present his solution to end the State Assembly's gridlock over Virginia unemployment benefits. The plan incorporates extensive employee-based tax credits for small businesses, but also includes Governor Tim Kaine's proposal to extend unemployment benefits to those who have lost part-time jobs and those in job training programs. Lesinski's plan has been strongly endorsed by Delegate Kenneth Plum, who is currently the ranking Democrat in the House Commerce and Labor Committee and the Chair of the Democratic Caucus. Lesinski will present the details of this plan today at a 4pm press conference, located in front of the Page County Courthouse (116 S. Court St, Luray, VA 22835).
Earlier this year, Republicans in the House of Delegates blocked Governor Kaine's attempt to modernize Virginia's unemployment tax code, which would have provided conditional unemployment benefits to individuals in job training programs and those who have lost part-time jobs. The modernization would enable the Commonwealth to receive an additional $125 million in Federal unemployment funding. Republicans allege that the modest increase in unemployment benefits would stifle job growth and hurt small businesses, while Democrats have claimed that the benefits would bring much-needed financial support to Virginia's unemployed.
"As a small business owner, I am certain that we can have a reasonable policy that shows compassion for the unemployed and is also beneficial for small businesses," said Lesinski.
Lesinski's plan calls for an across-the-board tax credit for all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, including seasonal and part-time employees. The tax credit amount would equal 150% of the unemployment insurance tax increase incurred by modernizing Virginia's unemployment code, with a prorated tax credit for part-time and seasonal workers. As a result, small businesses would see a net reduction in taxes and the Commonwealth would receive an additional $125 million to support the unemployed.
"John's common sense proposal is the kind of leadership we need to have in Richmond," said Plum. "His proposal is in sharp contrast to the political bickering we have been seeing. I will be encouraging the Governor to pursue this proposal."
Virginia's 15th House of Delegates District includes Page County, which has recently approached nearly 20% unemployment. While seasonal employment has temporarily brought the unemployment rate down to 12%, it is widely expected to rise again after the summer tourism months. In April, Lesinski called on Republicans to reconvene the State Legislature in order to pass the modernization of Virginia's unemployment benefits.
Last month, he called on Governor Kaine to declare an "Economic Crisis" in Page County, which could bring additional financial and programmatic support into the region. A Regional Economic Crisis Strike Force Meeting was subsequently scheduled for June 12.
John Lesinski is a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps and a successful commercial real estate broker. He worked for 16 years in one of the nation's largest commercial real estate brokerage firms. More recently, he established the Leland Group, LLC, which is a small business that focuses on bringing businesses into the Shenandoah Valley. Issues of job creation and economic development are central themes in his campaign.
Learn more about John Lesinski