Cut unemployment benefits

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Later today, the US Senate is expected to vote on extending long term unemployment benefits.  If passed, the bill will move to the House of Representatives. And if it becomes law, it would affect North Carolina more than any other state. 


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North Carolina is on pace to pay back its huge debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance by the end of next year. That's largely because the state slashed unemployment benefits.


Loaves and Fishes

Almost 151,000 low-income people in Mecklenburg County will have less money for food this month.

That's because of federal cuts to the food stamp program that took effect this month. In North Carolina, those cuts follow state changes in the past year that already had food pantries scrambling to meet increasing demand.


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A bill to drastically cut unemployment benefits and slightly raise business taxes has cleared its last major hurdle in North Carolina. Republicans behind it say it's going to be painful, but it's necessary to pay back the $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government for help paying unemployment insurance.

How did the state build up such a massive debt?

Unemployment Bill On Path To Easy Passage

Feb 1, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A Republican effort to overhaul North Carolina's unemployment system and speed up repayment of $2.5 billion owed to the federal government cleared a House panel Thursday, despite Democratic and worker advocate complaints the proposal was skewed against the jobless.

The measure, influenced heavily by the state's business industry and supported publicly by new Gov. Pat McCrory later Thursday, passed along party lines after the House Finance Committee turned back Democratic amendments that sought to ease proposed cuts in jobless benefits for future recipients.

Michael Tomsic

Governor Pat McCrory said one of the first bills he plans to sign into law will overhaul the state’s unemployment insurance system. McCrory is in favor of a Republican legislative plan that cuts benefits and raises taxes on some businesses.

When the economy tanked, North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system got way out of balance. Businesses fund it, and they weren’t putting enough in to cover the massive demand for benefits as unemployment soared.  

Bytemarks/Flickr

A North Carolina legislative committee approved a plan Tuesday to cut unemployment benefits and raise taxes on some businesses. Republicans behind the plan say those are necessary steps to pay back more than $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government.