The North Carolina General Assembly will convene on Jan. 30, and one of the first pieces of legislation to be introduced will address the state’s Unemployment Insurance system.

If you’ve been following the issue over the last few months, you know that the state has a debt owed to the federal government after high levels of unemployment claims were paid while we’ve been recovering from the worst of the recession. During the last decade unemployment insurance rates were lowered for NC businesses, so there was a smaller fund to pay the higher number of claims, and this made the shortfall problem more critical.

Last month, the Joint Revenue Laws Study Committee considered a draft bill to change unemployment insurance and address this issue. The changes included

  • Maximum weekly benefit would be $350, down from $535
  • Maximum number of weeks of benefits would be 12 (in a good economy) or 20 (in a poor one), down from 26

For additional background, see

Unemployment Insurance is an issue that was discussed in the AAUW Budget 101 series –

Unemployment insurance is an important stabilizer for the economy in difficult times. The changes that the legislature will consider will have serious effects on the social safety net, and cause hardship to many while tax rates for businesses are again kept low.

Learn more about the changes this would mean to North Carolina:

We are being asked by our fellow NC Women United member, the NC Justice Center, to contact our representatives and senators on this issue, to write letters to the editor, and to urge our contacts to take action.
  • Who represents me — get contact information for your representatives in the NC legislature
  • Write the Finance Committee – addresses for the group that will first consider the formal bill (copy the addresses to your BCC line, and address your message to the committee in the body of the message)
  • Write your local paper — AAUW tool to send your comments (or just use their standard format)