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State unemployment bill extends benefits

March 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
California's jobless rate has skyrocketed to 10.1 per cent. But relief may soon be on the way.Wednesday in Sacramento, the State Assembly's insurance committee passed a bill that is aimed at using $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for unemployment benefits.

The measure would extend those benefits for an extra 20 weeks.

Critics of the bill argue that the state may have to eventually charge employers more to fund the unemployment program.

The state unemployment insurance fund is now using borrowed money to pay benefits. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed reducing both the amount of benefits paid and increasing how much employers pay into the fund. But that issue was not part of Wednesday's hearing.


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