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170K Long-Term Jobless In NC Face Benefits Cutoff

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File photo of unemployment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File photo of unemployment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits is taking effect, and that means about 170,000 long-term jobless are losing their last checks.

The benefit cuts take effect on Sunday. The reduced benefits and smaller increases in business taxes are the state’s cure for repaying Washington $2.5 billion borrowed to pay state unemployment claims that exploded during the recession. The reduced state benefits have the effect of making North Carolina the first to cut off a federal unemployment compensation program for the long-term jobless.

The plan’s supporters say it’ll save businesses more than $400 million by paying back the billions three years early. Opponents say Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory should have waited until January, after the federal benefits expire.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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