Critical vote could pave way for fewer benefits for NC's unemployed

RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Legislators seeking to eliminate $2.4 billion the state of North Carolina owes the federal government to help pay jobless benefits are prepared to unveil a proposal they also say would put the state unemployment insurance program on firmer financial footing.

A General Assembly study committee planned Wednesday to roll out draft legislation that could be considered by the full Legislature when it reconvenes next month. The proposal is likely to keep businesses paying more to lower the debt and reduce benefits for workers who become jobless in the future.

The state is in debt because unemployment insurance taxes by businesses outstripped benefits to the unemployed. The borrowing began at the height of the Great Recession. North Carolina's debt is the third-highest in the country, behind only California and New York.
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