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Extra federal jobless benefit would end in NC in House bill

June 2, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployed would no longer receive the pandemic-related $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement under legislation approved by a state House committee on Wednesday.

The measure would withdraw North Carolina from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, joining two dozen other states that have done the same thing.

The proposal would eliminate these extra benefits 30 days after the bill became law. The program already is scheduled to expire nationwide in early September.

Republicans advancing the bill through the Finance Committee argued the extra benefits are slowing down the post-pandemic recovery. Some contend the supplement is a disincentive to work when employers are struggling to fill vacancies. Others say the benefits have been crucial for many people, especially women who are struggling to provide child care to children.

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The proposal contrasts with a measure approved by the Senate this week that would keep distributing the extra benefits. But the Senate still wants to use the money from Washington to offer bonuses of $1,500 or $800 to benefit recipients who return to work.

About 240,000 people are currently receiving state unemployment benefits, according to a legislative analyst speaking in the committee. He didn’t know immediately how many of them received the supplemental benefits.

The House measure, which is scheduled to get a floor vote on Thursday, also would revive two proposals that the chamber approved earlier this spring but had gone nowhere in the Senate.

One provision would allow recipients of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to treat those proceeds as business expenses that could be deducted from their state income taxes in 2020 and 2021. The other provision would exempt the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from a person’s 2020 income taxes.