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Changes Target Unemployment Insurance In Wis.

The report calls for running a "responsible" program that "protects benefits for the unemployed while responsibly administering a solvent program without unnecessary spending of vital employer tax dollars."

The unemployment insurance reserve fund was hard hit by the recession and began 2012 with a $1.2 billion deficit. The state had to limit benefits for those out of work and borrow money from the federal government to continue paying benefits. Employers have been paying a special payroll tax to cover the interest on the loan since 2011. The report says that charge is expected to remain in place through next year.

Walker issued an executive order last year calling for creation of the report identifying rules that hinder economic growth. Wisconsin businesses were also surveyed for input.

"Making these changes will make it easier to do business in the state, while maintaining the safety and health of our citizens," Walker said in his State of the State speech.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald praised the Walker report, saying it had solid ideas for reform.

"This is the first step in this process to remove onerous red tape and help businesses create more jobs," Fitzgerald said in a statement.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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