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Ariz. Bill Refinances Unemployment Insurance Debt

"This debt's already out there," Biggs said Tuesday. "This is refinance, (and) we'll save some money."

Because of how the federal loans are structured, if the loan balance is repaid by Sept. 30, the interest is waived, Darmer said. The state expects to save about $5.5 million by issuing the new bonds, and employers will avoid a second $21 per employee bump in their unemployment insurance rates.

The state's unemployment trust fund is expected to return to a positive balance by mid-2014, Darmer said, and that's with repaying the bonds.

That will put an end to an agonizingly glum period for the fund caused by the Great Recession.

"We were one of the most solvent states in the nation," Darmer said. "That kind of gives you an idea just how long and deep our recession was, that we went through a billion dollars and at our high point owed the feds in excess of $420 million."

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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