Some important information has been under-reported in recent articles concerning the unemployment insurance bill expected to pass in the legislature. The trouble our state finds itself in is a direct result of irresponsible legislating by both sides of the aisle.
According to the Department of Labor, during the 1990s when state unemployment was below 4.5 percent and still dropping, paid benefits were increasing by 80 percent. In addition to this startling fact, while total tax contributions collected from businesses, not employees, were increasing during this period, our Unemployment Insurance fund should have been expanding; it was decreasing by nearly one-third!
Our legislators adopted a false sense of security, which led to irresponsible and unrealistic allocation of benefits. It is not pragmatic for North Carolina to offer longer periods of unemployment benefits, 40 percent higher weekly wages and double the wage-base from our Southeast region competitor states.
I applaud the General Assembly for recognizing the errors of the past and attempting to make tough political decisions that will benefit our state for decades to come.