MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Gov. Tony Evers sent a letter to Wisconsin State Legislature urging for action on his proposal to modernize Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance (UI) system.

While giving the 2021 State of the State address, Evers announced he would call a special session of the Legislature to take up his proposal. The proposal would finance the modernization project from start to finish over a ten-year period.

“My proposal to update our antiquated system to date has been met with the same continued inaction Wisconsinites have seen for years during previous administrations and more than a decades’ worth of state legislators that knew this system was outdated and failed to fix it. And worse yet, it has also become the subject of partisan, political posturing and finger-pointing unfitting of the severity of this problem and the urgency with which it must be addressed,” wrote Gov. Evers in the letter.

According to a release, Wisconsin’s UI system programming was developed in the early 1970s. Gov. Evers’ proposal uses the master lease program, which operates similar to a home mortgage, effectively allowing the state to make a down payment on the project while paying it off over a longer, extended period of time.

The bill provides for a potential ‘clawback’ of state dollars if the federal government provides additional resources to states to fund UI modernization for which this project is eligible and requires those federal dollars to be used first.

“After these issues with our unemployment system were raised during the Great Recession and now again during COVID-19, it would be callous and irresponsible for any elected official to sit around and wait for the next economic crisis while taking no action to remedy a predictable outcome. Replacing this system will take years, that’s why it should have been done years ago, and it’s why I am urging you today to give this issue immediate consideration and action,” Gov. Evers continued.