Hat-tip to Rick Glazier and MaryBe McMillan:
In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly and then-Gov. Pat McCrory approved House Bill 4 with the stated objective of bringing solvency to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is funded by taxes on employers and pays unemployment benefits to laid-off workers.
Ultimately, the bill achieved solvency for the trust fund, but only by permanently cutting the amount, duration, and eligibility for benefits for all unemployed workers. All told, the changes enacted in North Carolina amounted to the most severe cuts ever enacted by any state during the 80-plus-year history of American unemployment insurance. At the time, legislators claimed that when the trust fund was solvent, these draconian cuts would be revisited. That time has clearly arrived.
How many North Carolinians have lost their homes since this draconian policy was enacted? How many families have been ripped apart? How many suicides? Republicans in the General Assembly won't be asking those questions, but somebody needs to. We rate our education system by how well it stacks up against other states, and elected officials (from both parties) love to brag about our business climate rankings. But what about workers? Unemployment is not driven by worker behavior; it is driven by business trends, mergers and acquisitions, decisions made in corporate boardrooms often in other states or countries. Those workers produced the profits (and state revenues) diligently, and they deserve better compensation than $264 a week for 8 weeks: