With unemployment rising, the state [of West Virginia] expects the benefit fund to dwindle. Rather than risk having to borrow from the federal government, the Legislature is acting to shore up the fund.

That is prudent, but it will have to be carefully done.

Steve Roberts, president of the state Chamber of Commerce, told members of the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that the current plan to shore up the fund would raise employers' costs by about $147 million a year — nearly double what they pay now.

... Piling costs like that on employers in a recession could easily raise unemployment itself ... Employers don't have to pay taxes for people who aren't on the payroll.

Legislators need to do absolutely everything they can to offset the effect higher taxes would have on business and employment.

... To their credit, legislators and the administration plan, for now, to take only part of the unemployment compensation funds included in the president's $787 billion stimulus package. The "free" money comes with policy requirements that would raise state costs over the long haul.

Accordingly, state officials will study the other requirements in the stimulus plan before acting.

Very wise. ...