Self-Employment Assistance Program

H.3865 allows individuals who would not otherwise be eligible to draw unemployment benefits to receive them if they are engaged in “self-employment assistance activities”. Such activities include “entrepreneurial training, business counseling, and technical assistance”.

First of all, the state has had trouble keeping the unemployment trust fund afloat in the past. If it weren’t for federal subsidy South Carolina’s unemployment trust fund would have been hundreds of millions of dollars in the red as recently as fiscal year 2012. Adding a new class of individuals eligible to receive benefits is not likely to improve the long term stability of the program.

Second, it is not the state’s place to subsidize entrepreneurship. Individuals wishing to begin their own business should obtain the needed funds from those they can convince of the validity of their business plan, not those who are forced to invest in it.

Finally, lest we forget, the unemployment trust fund is financed through taxes on existing businesses. Extending unemployment benefits to would be entrepreneurs is essentially forcing businesses to subsidize their future competitors.

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