Greenville News reports Vida Miller one of six legislators 'warned' about unemployment fund shortfall

Contact: Jill Kelso 843-543-0180

PAWLEYS ISLAND--According to yesterday's Greenville News, Democratic state Rep. Vida Miller was one of six legislators identified in documents just released by the state Employment Security Commission that were "warned of dangers facing the unemployment trust fund" over the last two years- a fund that has recently required over $300 million in federal loans to bail out of a deficit.

The article states that ESC Commissioner William "Billy" McLeod met with Miller in September 2008, according to the documents. Additionally, the ESC released a letter to Miller dated September 9, 2008, in which McLeod wrote the "agency is in dire straits."

According to the Greenville News, "The fund, in 2000 had a balance of more than $800 million, became unable to pay unemployment benefits without federal loans after years of paying out more in benefits than it collected."

Governor Mark Sanford has criticized the ESC for the unemployment fund shortfalls calling the agency "out of control" and threatened to fire all of the commissioners for not providing the state Department of Commerce with unemployment data.

According to the article, "Miller couldn't be reached for comment."

"It's incredible Rep. Miller would remain totally silent on such an explosive issue that affects the lives of so many unemployed in the state and particularly Georgetown and Charleston counties. Upon being notified directly by the ESC of the 'dire' funding situation, Rep. Miller had an obligation to take immediate and effective action to ensure the problem would be resolved," said Jill Kelso, Miller's Republican opponent in last November's election.

Yesterday the ESC released unemployment numbers for December showing the state at a 9.5% unemployment rate. Georgetown and Charleston County unemployment rates were 11.8% and 6.9% respectively.

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