Under the Dome

Business cheers Rucho and Howard for unemployment cuts

The cuts in unemployment benefits have not been very popular, and have been one of the focuses of the Moral Monday protests.

But now the principal authors are getting some love. Rep. Julia Howard and Sen. Bob Rucho have been named the 2013 recipients of the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Award given by the UWC -- Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers Compensation. UWC is a national association that presents the business community on unemployment insurance and workers' compensation public policy issues.

"The North Carolina Chamber and its members commend the leadership of Re. Howard and Sen. Rucho in reforming our state's broke and broken unemployment system,'' said Lew Ebert, chamber president. "We are pleased to see them be recognized for their hard work in shifting our focus from unemployment to reemployment.''

The legislature passed a bill in February dealing with $2.5 billion debt on unemployment insurance -- the third largest in the country -- caused by the state's high unemployment rate and a series of tax cuts in unemployment insurance over the years.

Because North Carolina leaders cut average weekly benefits for new claims,a bout 170,000 workers whose state benefits expire this year will lose more than $700 million in payments, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

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