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Unemployment insurance remake headed to governor

Posted February 13, 2013

— The Senate voted 36-12 Wednesday to give final legislative approval to a bill that remakes North Carolina's unemployment insurance system. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory. 

It has been the subject of fierce debate over the past three weeks. Opponents of the bill says it takes more from unemployed workers than it asks of businesses.

"It is not a bill of shared sacrifice," said Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake. 

North Carolina built up $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government during the recession paying unemployment claims. The bill seeks to repay that money quickly to avoid a series of federally mandated tax increases on businesses. To do that, it raises state unemployment taxes a small amount.

It also cuts benefits for unemployed workers, limiting both the duration of benefits and capping weekly benefits at $350. The measure also forces unemployed workers to take lower-paying jobs when they become available rather than waiting to higher-paying jobs that might better match their experience.

"We heard a lot of talk yesterday that we did not care about people," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, defending the measure. "I think we're all very concerned. We all believe the best thing we can do for someone (who is) unemployed is to find them suitable employments."

Republicans argue that, by limiting tax increases, the state will attract more businesses and create more jobs. Stein and other Democrats argued that, even if that recovery comes, people will be hurt in the meantime.

"If you put too much burden on people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own ... you create real hardships for those families," Stein said. 

The measure now goes to McCrory, a Republican who has been supportive of the measure. 

Four Senate Democrats crossed party lines to support the GOP-crafted measure: Ben Clark, D-Cumberland; Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe; Gene McLaurin, D-Richmond; and Michael Walters, D-Robeson.

55 Comments

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  • goldenosprey Feb 15, 10:54 a.m.

    "The system needs to be revamped. Each indidvidual should have to prove by a signed letter that they visited places advertising job opening. Not just jump on the computer and mark the yes box." weasel

    When's the last time you looked for a job? That's not how things are done. Last time I advertised for a position I received over 200 responses. Think I want 200 people at my door? Most employers prefer online applications or simple mailed or faxed resumes. If you live in Bumthumped, NC it may be impractical to drive to Raleigh or Charlotte to "drop by."

  • weasel2 Feb 15, 10:20 a.m.

    The system needs to be revamped. Each indidvidual should have to prove by a signed letter that they visited places advertising job opening. Not just jump on the computer and mark the yes box.

  • junkmail5 Feb 14, 3:53 p.m.

    Wouldnt government contracts create jobs and get people off unemployemnt? Seems the government wants people to keep on the dole

    Crumps Br0ther

    that's backward thinking.

    The jobs would still happen... but in OTHER states.

    States that, unlike NC, still qualify for federal extended unemployment benefits.

    So by putting jobs there that's LESS people on the FEDERAL unemployment dole.

    Which they've got no incentive to do in NC now.

    You cant tell me you have a good reason to be out of work for 3 years.

    Crumps Br0ther

    Possibly not. But I bet a lot of people could give you good reasons they might be out of work longer than 12 weeks, the new potential maximum benefit period for some.

  • goldenosprey Feb 14, 3:09 p.m.

    "Just remember, we might be unemployed, but we still vote!"

    Don't count on it - The GA is working on a bill to fix that little problem of you voting, too.

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 14, 2:51 p.m.

    Just remember, we might be unemployed, but we still vote!

    bgrmom

    we already know some people vote for a living

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 14, 2:50 p.m.

    Interesting read, the Government is against McCrory on this and could stop Government contracts coming to North Carolina. This is political suicide for the current regime.

    No Party Affiliate

    Wouldnt government contracts create jobs and get people off unemployemnt? Seems the government wants people to keep on the dole

  • WooHoo2You Feb 14, 2:49 p.m.

    not counting clothing, educational training, and of course food. To the best of my knowledge, no one was turned away. And you? mep

    He's a lib, he would rather tell you how to spend your money than put his where his mouth is-Crumps Br0ther

    Funny, because mep was telling me what to do with my time and money NOT the other way around!

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 14, 2:48 p.m.

    Sign it, Gov. Punish those faithful voters who thought they were doing the right thing when they voted for you and the legislators.

    Snokyone

    If they wanted continued freebies then the dem would have won, dont ya think?

    You cant tell me you have a good reason to be out of work for 3 years.

  • Snookyone Feb 14, 2:09 p.m.

    Sign it, Gov. Punish those faithful voters who thought they were doing the right thing when they voted for you and the legislators.

  • No Party Affiliate Feb 14, 1:43 p.m.

    This issue has made the Washington Post...

    http://www.wral.com/unemployment-insurance-remake-headed-to-governor/12103081/

    Interesting read, the Government is against McCrory on this and could stop Government contracts coming to North Carolina.

    This is political suicide for the current regime.

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