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NC Unemployment Plan Hits Business, Beneficiaries

By paying off the debt in 2015, projected subsequent higher federal taxes will be canceled. The proposal also would keep in place the current 20 percent state unemployment tax surcharge on all business until the state's trust balance exceeds $1 billion and require that surcharge to now be paid by both nonprofit groups and local governments.

The bill also increases slightly the range of tax rates an employer must pay into the system based on its history, number of layoffs and other factors. The top-rated businesses could no longer get a zero percent rate â¿¿ it would go up to 0.06 percent on the first $21,000 of a worker's wages. The maximum rate would increase from 5.7 percent to 5.76 percent.

The 54-page bill also would tighten benefit qualification rules. It doesn't direct that bonds be issued to pay off the federal debt more quickly. State Treasurer Janet Cowell advised legislators against the idea because of the debt's large size and relatively small savings it would generate.

The proposal received preliminary approval in the study committee. Rucho said he didn't expect significant changes to the bill, which still would have to be introduced in the Republican-led Legislature when the new session begins in January and pass both chambers. GOP Gov.-elect Pat McCrory has said fixing the debt problem would be an early priority.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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