West Virginia lawmakers clear unemployment fund bill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill to move up to $50 million from reserves into the state’s troubled unemployment fund.

The House of Delegates cleared the bill by a 98-0 margin Tuesday, sending it to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who requested the bill.

Tomblin spokeswoman Shayna Varner said increasing layoffs in West Virginia’s coal industry have taken a toll on the unemployment fund.

The bill permits borrowing up to $50 million from the state Rainy Day Fund when less than $50 million is in the unemployment fund at any time over a 30-day period.

Otherwise, the state would have to borrow money from and pay interest to the federal government. That would force employers to pay an additional surcharge.

As of Friday, $50.2 million was in the unemployment fund.

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