South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley wants to refinance the massive federal loans the state needed to pay jobless benefits and lower taxes for some businesses by issuing revenue bonds, her chief of staff said Thursday.
Tim Pearson, Haley's top aide, said the proposal using revenue bonds would help pay $972 million in federal loans that kept the state's jobless receiving benefits amid chronically high unemployment and the economic downturn.
South Carolina legislators last year overhauled the state's jobless benefits system and rolled out a repayment plan that increased taxes for some employers by hundreds of dollars per worker.
Businesses with the worst records for firing and laying off people have been complaining. Employers in that worst unemployment tax bracket were told they'd pay $1,128 a year for each worker on their payroll, an increase of about $660.
Legislators have spent months trying to soften the rate increases. But Haley and many lawmakers have insisted that a break for them shouldn't cost employers with good records more and that the state shouldn't borrow more money.