July 2, 2013
UNEMPLOYMENT CLIFF: July 1 deadline passes without action by lawmakers
The July 1 deadline for federal emergency unemployment benefits has come and gone, without any action taken by North Carolina lawmakers to help the estimated 70,000 North Carolinians who are out of work through no fault of their own and have now lost access to this modest support.
Thanks to the massive and unprecedented cuts made to North Carolina's state-funded unemployment benefits by legislators and Gov. McCrory in the early days of the 2013 legislative session, thousands of workers will not be able to access Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits. Such benefits allow jobless workers who are exhausting their state-funded unemployment benefits to receive additional weeks of support through the end of 2013 — paid entirely by the federal government. An estimated $600 million in these federal benefits will be lost to North Carolina’s economy
The loss of these federal benefits will reduce the number of weeks available to jobless workers in North Carolina by 70 percent to just 19 weeks. North Carolina is the only state in the country to make such extreme cuts. In every other state, jobless workers will continue to receive emergency federal unemployment benefits until the end of 2013, and perhaps longer if Congress extends the program.
Lawmakers had an opportunity to do the right thing. Even though they failed to do so before July 1, it's not too late to reinstate benefits that help families meet their most basic needs. Such benefits are already insufficient in covering a family's weekly costs. Without them, tens of thousands of workers and their children are put at severe risk of being pushed into poverty.
MILITARY FAMILIES & THE EITC: Tax plans would eliminate vital credit
Both the North Carolina Senate and House tax plans not only offer huge tax cuts to the wealthy and profitable businesses while failing to address the state’s upside-down tax system, but will also allow the Earned Income Tax Credit to expire at the end of 2013. New analysis from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities finds that about 64,000 veteran and active-duty military families in North Carolina would be impacted by such tax plans and the expiration of the EITC.
The NC Senate will debate a tax plan later today that will increase the tax load on tens of thousands of low-income soldiers, veterans, and their families while the wealthiest taxpayers and profitable corporations get a tax break. More than 78,000 military families across the state benefit from federal tax credits for working families, including the EITC and the Child Tax Credit. The EITC and CTC together keep more than 140,000 military families across the country from falling below the poverty line. They also reduce the severity of poverty for another 800,000 members of military families, and can increase opportunity for their children.
Nearly 64,000 of these families also receive the state EITC, a significant anti-poverty tool. If the EITC is allowed to expire, these families will see their taxes increase by as much as $272 a year. Worst yet, many of these military families may be directly affected by the unemployment cut-off, as they are no longer for extended benefits.
North Carolina's troops and veterans have made unimaginable sacrifices for their country. Now it's up to lawmakers to make sure these individuals can provide for their families. Visit www.nctaxshift.org for more information on the tax plans currently being considered at the NC General Assembly.
NEW BILL TRACKER: Online tool evaluates where legislation is leading NC
Our elected leaders come together every year to make public policy. We believe that public policy holds the potential for expanding access to opportunity and building a strong foundation for economic growth. We believe that our elected leaders have a particular duty to serve the common good and that means addressing inequities and exclusion of poor and low-income families and communities from the pathways to greater economic security.
This year, we are assessing the direction that policymakers are taking — and that North Carolina is headed in — with key policy proposals. On our new bill tracker "Which Direction is NC Headed?", we have highlighted major legislation that has the potential to move North Carolina in the wrong direction or help us get ahead.
Check back frequently to see where bills stand.