The wingnuts are really running wild in North Carolina. A new law taking effect over the weekend will cut unemployment benefits for new claims and disqualify the state from receiving federal funds for the long-term jobless.
According the The Associated Press, lawmakers passed the bill in February to accelerate the repayment of $2.5 billion federal debt by cutting jobless benefits and increasing taxes on businesses. Because the bill cuts benefits to those who are newly unemployed, the state also disqualified itself from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC).
The U.S. Labor Department has estimated that about 170,000 out-of-work North Carolinians stand to lose $700 million in EUC payments.
Under the law passed by North Carolina Republicans, qualifying for state benefits will become more difficult and the payments will be cut from a maximum weekly benefit of $535 to $350. The benefit period will be shortened from six months to no more than five months, and in some cases only three months.
Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) have refused to entertain a suggestion by the NAACP and Democratic lawmakers to delay benefit cuts until the federal jobless program expires next January.