North Carolina lawmakers approved deep cuts to benefits for the jobless on Wednesday, in a state that has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.In a debt-reducing effort, the Republican-controlled legislature voted to cut maximum weekly benefits to $350 from $535, a 35 percent drop; reduce the maximum number of weeks for collecting benefits to between 12 and 20 weeks from 26 weeks; and tighten requirements to qualify. The cuts would begin with new jobless claims on July 1.If the bill is signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, as expected, North Carolina would be the eighth state to roll back jobless benefits under the growing financial burden of the recession.The measure’s sponsors said it would spur job growth by paying down $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government. The bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 36 to 12.“North Carolina owes the federal government $2.5 billion because of a broken unemployment insurance system,” said Mr. McCrory, a Republican. “We’re going to pay down that debt, make the system solvent and provide an economic climate that allows businesses, large and small, to put people back to work.
And if you think the billion or so a year this will save the state will end up back in the pocket of taxpayers, you're insane. Once the debt is paid off, there will of course be tax cuts for businesses. Not workers, mind you. Oh, and here's the best news:
The bill also disqualifies 170,000 unemployed people — 39 percent of the 438,000 jobless — from federal emergency extended benefits because it reduces the number of weeks people can receive benefits to below 26. The federal government has set 26 weeks as the national requirement for receiving federal funds.
Better hope you don't get laid off if you live in NC, with $2.5 billion disappearing from the state's economy in a three year period, that's a hell of a contraction. Max benefits cut by a third, max weeks cut in half, no federal benefits for anyone. Gotta stick it to those poor people, because we all know that the only reason anyone's ever unemployed is that they're too lazy to take a job that pays $7.25 an hour (or less, if you're waitstaff).
But somehow, this will create jobs, right?