Republican state Sen. Pat Gallivan urged officials on Wednesday to reduce unemployment insurance costs for employers in the state as New York owes more than $8 billion to the federal unemployment insurance trust fund. 

“Businesses large and small, still trying to recover from the negative impact of the pandemic and being forced to shut down, are now being hit with an unexpected Unemployment Insurance surcharge that for some is in the thousands of dollars,” Gallivan said. “Putting this financial burden on the backs of New York businesses and local governments at a time when many are already facing increased operating costs is unconscionable.”

Gallivan in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul sent this week pointed to the surcharge that's being placed on employers to pay down the debt. It current accounts for about $27.60 per employee. 

New York is among a handful of states in the country that owe money to the fund after the jobless rate spiked in the early months of the COVID pandemic, leading to millions of jobs being lost or furloughed as a result of the closing of public spaces and businesses. 

Business organizations in recent months have urged state officials to take action on the unemployment insurance debt issue as costs for employers could further increase later this year. 

The state is facing a Nov. 10 deadline to pay down interest. If not, those interest costs will rise and in effect create an increase on the federal portion of an employers' tax bills.