NC officials: Fed loans for unemployment benefits repaid

North Carolina unemployment rate up to 5.5 percent in April (Image 1)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina officials say they’ve met their goal of early repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt by cutting unemployment benefits and raising business taxes.

Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday celebrated reaching the target he and fellow Republicans in the Legislature set two years ago.

That’s when lawmakers decided to accelerate by about three years repaying the federal money borrowed to cover unemployment compensation payments to workers during the Great Recession.

The General Assembly’s fiscal research office estimated that benefit cuts for the jobless would make up about three-quarters of the cost of speeding up repayments.

Businesses saw higher unemployment insurance taxes until the debt was repaid.

More than half of those unemployed in North Carolina last year were jobless for more than 15 weeks, the new maximum for benefits.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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