Skip to main content

State flag of North Carolina superimposed on map of the state.
The lather, rinse, repeat cycle of cutting taxes on businesses, then using the crisis that creates as an excuse to cut benefits to average people is in full swing on unemployment insurance benefits. Now, North Carolina is next up in the wave of states cutting jobless benefits to make up for unemployment insurance trust funds left underfunded by big cuts to employer unemployment taxes prior to the recession, and North Carolina's planned cuts are the most vicious of any state so far.

The North Carolina legislature plans to cut both the number of weeks of benefits unemployed people are eligible for and the amount they can collect weekly. What's more, that action would cause federal benefits to be cut off for many long-term unemployed people. Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris is so disturbed by this prospect he issued a statement ahead of the North Carolina state legislature's final vote on the cuts:

"The North Carolina legislature is considering legislation that would reduce state Unemployment Insurance benefits. If enacted, the legislation also would cut off all federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation—that is, benefits after 26 weeks of unemployment—to 170,000 unemployed North Carolinians. This cutoff is automatic under federal law. I have no discretion to stop it. As a result, families struggling to secure their place in the middle class will suffer a grievous blow, and the state's economy will lose $780 million in federal funds that are vital to reducing North Carolina's high unemployment rate.

"We know that for every dollar spent on Unemployment Insurance benefits, nearly two dollars are generated in the local economy. Unemployed workers and their families spend these benefits in local grocery stores and small businesses, and use them to stay current on mortgage or rent payments and utilities. For these reasons, UI programs are vital to economic growth in difficult times, particularly in states like North Carolina with high unemployment rates."

But anything to avoid the dread raising business taxes, amiright? Then, if North Carolina's economy ever recovers and unemployment is low again, a future legislature can use that as an excuse to cut employer unemployment taxes yet again, while keeping these benefit cuts in place.

12:34 PM PT: The state Senate took the next step toward the cuts Tuesday afternoon:

The Senate voted 36-13 in favor of House Bill 4 on second reading. A final vote is expected Wednesday, after which it would need to return to the House for agreement on minor changes.

Gov. Pat McCrory has already said he will sign the bill into law.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:31 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site