NC unemployment insurance plan gets rolled out - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NC unemployment insurance plan gets rolled out

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -

A proposal to eliminate North Carolina's large unemployment benefit debt would require businesses to pay higher taxes and reduce the maximum payments that future jobless workers could receive.

The proposal released Wednesday in a General Assembly study committee is the result of negotiations between legislative leaders, business groups and others.

The plan would eliminate by 2015 the $2.4 billion the state owes the federal government because business tax contributions have not kept up with jobless claims.

Without the proposed changes, it would take three or four years longer.

The maximum weekly benefit for workers would fall from $525 a week to $350.

The maximum number of benefit weeks would drop from 26 weeks to 20.

Republicans pushing the proposal insist businesses would share some of the burden, too - they say they're trying to spread the pain between employers and the unemployed, so that the cuts won't become unbearable for either party.

Businesses would have to pay a higher share of an employee's benefits, essentially through higher taxes.

At a jobs fair in Charlotte on Wednesday, where over a thousand hopefuls competed for 60 open positions, people expressed dismay over the proposal. "I thought [the economy] was going better but now that I'm here it seems like it's not going as good as I thought," one job seeker told WBTV.

Copyright 2012 WBTV and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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