Fast-track for NC jobless insurance bills slows

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Republicans' solution to repaying more quickly North Carolina's $2.6 billion debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance claims continued on the fast track at the General Assembly, but it's slowing down a little.

The Senate Finance Committee approved Wednesday a House bill that will raise taxes on businesses but also cut the maximum weekly benefits for jobless workers by one-third to $350. Lawmakers also would reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks from 26 to 20.

The House passed the bill earlier this week and its path toward Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's desk looks secure. But Senate Republicans announced floor debate won't occur until next Tuesday.

Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully in committee to pass amendments. They say the bill is imbalanced against workers in the bad economy.