Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
By Lauren Absher, MSW Intern for NASW-NC
According to a House Finance subcommittee on Thursday, the state needs to alter the current structure of our Unemployment Insurance in order to repay a 2.5 billion dollar debt to the Federal government that has been incurred through employment related costs. According to Representative Howard, who sponsored House Bill 4, our current unemployment insurance system, coupled with the debt, has made North Carolina an unattractive prospect to entrepreneurship. To address this concern and repay our debt to the Federal government, Representative Howard introduced a plan to help expedite the repayment process to 2016 or 2017.
The proposed bill would:
These are just a few of the changes the bill would make to our current system. Proponents of the bill feel certain the legislation will make North Carolina more competitive with the South and the Nation by getting “the unemployed to work, rather than compensating them for being unemployed.” However, amidst all of the partisan rhetoric of work related opportunities, economic growth, and assumptions that people on unemployment would rather get an unemployment check than work, our current economic climate and our social insurance structures are not sound. Our current unemployment system, according to Representative Alexander is “structured to compensate at 66 and 2/3 %, leaving people over 1/3 behind in meeting their needs. We are not presiding over a system designed to make anyone fat, sassy or happy.” North Carolina’s unemployment rate is hovering around 9.2% with a 16.1% poverty rate. Additionally, according to legislative staff, $225million will be lost to the unemployed in the first 6 months following implementation of this bill, whereas employers share of the burden will amount to $20million cumulatively by 2015. The impact to employers will be short-term, whereas the impact to the unemployed will be permanent.
This bill passed in the House subcommittee 13-23. It will be voted on by the full House of Representatives Monday evening. Please take some time to phone, visit, or email your representative and tell them this debt should not be paid on the backs of the unemployed and their families. This bill will be discussed in the House, tonight. You can listen online here and click House Chamber.
For more information about the harmful affects of this legislation, click here.