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ICYMI: Winston-Salem Journal: Tillis Left NC Among Weakest Unemployment Benefits Programs in U.S.

ICYMI: Winston-Salem Journal: Thom Tillis Left North Carolina with One of the Weakest Unemployment Benefits Programs in the Country

Tillis led effort to cut unemployment benefit as NC House Speaker, leaving NC workers reeling amidst soaring jobless numbers

Raleigh, N.C. -- As North Carolina’s unemployment numbers soar due to the coronavirus pandemic, hard-working North Carolinians receive some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country thanks in large part to Senator Thom Tillis. In his previous role as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Tillis deliberately limited unemployment benefits to North Carolinians who needed them most because “...they didn’t want recipients — who lost their job through no fault of their own — to rely on the benefits over working.”

According to the Winston Salem Journal, “NC's status among lowest-paying states for unemployment benefits is by GOP design.”

“How did North Carolina get here with such low unemployment insurance benefits available? The primary answer is that these are levels that Republican legislative leaders have been comfortable with for nearly seven years as the state slowly emerged from the depths of the Great Recession of 2008-11. The UI reductions were the key elements in the passage of House Bill 4, which was ratified by the GOP super-majority legislature on Feb. 14, 2013, and signed into law by then-Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Feb. 19, 2013.”

“Senate president pro tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and then-House speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, jointly touted the benefit reductions in HB4. Tillis used his final two years as speaker as a springboard toward being elected as North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator in November 2014.”

“According to the U.S. Labor Department, that decision cost North Carolina an estimated $780 million in UI benefits for the second half of 2013 even though the state’s jobless rate was at 8% during that time. Those funds could have helped 85,000 unemployed North Carolinians, including 15,000 in the Triad.”

Read the full story HERE.


Jessica Coscia


About Piedmont Rising

Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent.

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