While the headlines are all about the white smoke flowing from the state budget corridor, it’s federal action that might be even more critical for North Carolina’s economy.
The Budget & Tax Center’s Alexandra Forter Sirota has an op-ed in today’s News & Observer explaining how important a federal extension of unemployment benefits is to North Carolina workers — and how badly our nascent recovery needs fiscal relief.
Late last week the U.S. Senate failed to move a bill that would extend essential fiscal relief to states, as well as fund temporary unemployment insurance provisions passed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
As a result, the Employment Security Commission estimates that 20,000 North Carolinians will lose unemployment benefits that they would spend quickly and close to home, boosting the local economy and helping local businesses avoid layoffs.
Moreover, the bill failed to include $340 million in federal fiscal relief to states. Without those funds, North Carolina would be forced to slash its budget even further, killing consumer spending, growth and jobs.
Now’s not the time to retreat from vital public investment. We need to get the job of economic stimulus done, and that means federal action.