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NC legislators nearing unemployment debt proposal

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- New Republican leaders at the Legislature vowed last year to rid North Carolina of its $2 billion-plus debt to the federal government for unemployment benefits and put the state system on firm financial footing.

Now legislators are aiming next month to unveil their proposal. Based on interviews, it appears business would have to keep paying more to pay down the debt, but future jobless workers could see reduced benefits.

North Carolina is among nearly 20 states that began borrowing money at the height of Great Recession to pay for a flood of unemployment claims and haven't yet repaid the federal government.

Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory also says the debt will be a front-burner issue when he takes office in January, the same month lawmakers begin their work in earnest.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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