Raleigh, NC -- The state House is tackling North Carolina's unemployment insurance debt problem early in this year's session with legislation supporters say is fair but critics argue hurts displaced workers more.
Proponents of the proposal being heard Thursday in the House Finance Committee say it requires businesses and jobless workers to share the burden to accelerate the repayment of $2.5 billion owed the federal government. The bill also generates reserves so the state can prepare more benefits in the next economic downturn.
The plan requires businesses to pay higher unemployment insurance taxes and reduces maximum weekly benefits by about one-third to $350 for those unemployed after July 1. Supporters say benefit levels fall in line with nearby states but worker advocates say the argument won't help jobless workers with rent or groceries.