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Public Statements

Butterfield and Price Press State to Restore Unemployment Insurance for Thousands of North Carolinians

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representatives G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and David Price (NC-04) sent a letter to the leadership of the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly, strongly urging that they repeal State Law (SL) 2013-2, which will cut emergency unemployment insurance for up to 170,000 long-term unemployed workers beginning July 1.

As part of the fiscal cliff deal reached earlier this year, Congress passed an extension through January 1, 2014 for the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC08). EUC08 gives assistance to the long-term unemployed by providing federal unemployment benefits after state benefits are exhausted, and under the condition that states maintain their current benefits for the unemployed. However the change in benefits, as a result of SL 2013-2, makes North Carolina ineligible to receive the $780 million in federal funds necessary to support those who need it most--people who have been searching for work for more than 26 weeks.

In their letter, the representatives wrote, "Contrary to Governor McCrory's claims about SL 2013-2, the law will not reduce taxes on businesses, repair North Carolina's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvency issues, or eliminate the state's debt repayment of $2.5 billion to the United States Department of Labor. Instead, SL 2013-2 raises the maximum state unemployment tax rate and will result in increasing taxes for employers, while penalizing those searching for work and their families."

This is the second letter that Butterfield and Price have sent to state leaders concerning emergency unemployment insurance. In February, Representatives Butterfield, Price, and Mel Watt (NC-12) wrote a similar letter requesting that the state legislature and governor abandon their efforts to end employment insurance.

Today's full letter follows.

June 18, 2013

The Honorable Thom Tillis The Honorable Phil Berger
Speaker President Pro Tempore
North Carolina House of Representatives North Carolina Senate
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2304 16 W. Jones Street, Room 2008
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-1096 Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2808

The Honorable Larry D. Hall The Honorable Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr.
Democratic Leader Minority Leader
North Carolina House of Representatives North Carolina Senate
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 506 16 W. Jones Street, Room 1129
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-5925 Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2808

Dear Senate and House Leaders:

Earlier this year, members of North Carolina's congressional delegation wrote to you and to Governor McCrory urging disapproval of House Bill 4. Despite our concerns and the strong opposition of residents across our state, on February 19, 2013 the measure was signed into law. As you know, North Carolina State Law (SL) 2013-2 now stands to cut Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC08) funding for up to 170,000 workers in North Carolina, rejecting $780 million in approved federal funds, effective July 1.

We urge you in the strongest possible terms to restore North Carolina's unemployment insurance program and ensure unemployed workers receive their earned benefits by immediately introducing and swiftly passing legislation to repeal SL 2013-2. The dramatic reductions included in that law make North Carolina ineligible for $780 million in federal funding and eliminate support to unemployed workers who have been searching for work for more than 26 weeks. Eliminating this critical safety net for workers in need would also cost North Carolina's economy $1.5 billion in economic activity, at a time when our unemployment rate remains above the national average. Worse, implementation of SL 2013-2 will ultimately take food from families' tables and support from our state's children. We urge you to repeal SL 2013-2 so the many disastrous and unintended consequences of the law can be averted.

Contrary to Governor McCrory's claims about SL 2013-2, the law will not reduce taxes on businesses, repair North Carolina's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvency issues, or eliminate the state's debt repayment of $2.5 billion to the United States Department of Labor. Instead, SL 2013-2 raises the

maximum state unemployment tax rate and will result in increasing taxes for employers, while penalizing those searching for work and their families. SL 2013-2 is reckless and heartless. It blocks federal support earned by our constituents and costs our economy billions in exchange for simply changing the state's debt repayment schedule.

North Carolinians should have access to federal benefits promised to them under the law. We urge you to act to reverse this troubling decision before it is too late.

Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,

G. K. Butterfield David Price
Member of Congress Member of Congress


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