Thousands of people across the state could lose their unemployment benefits Saturday. It's up to Governor Beverly Perdue to approve or veto a bill to extend the benefits for 20 more weeks, but Republican leaders have added a plan to force Perdue to accept a 13 percent spending cut from her budget proposal if they can't agree on a plan by July 1st. We spoke to a local woman who fears the losing the only money she has coming in right now.
Precious Hardy of Greenville is one of about 37,000 North Carolinians who could lose her benefits. She says she's been looking for a job for about a year and a half now. With two kids to support, she's hopeful she'll land one soon. In the meantime, she says she relys on her unemployment benefits.
Danny Alston manages the Pitt County Employment Security Commission. He says once someone qualifies for unemployment, he or she can receive up to 4 federal extensions before their benefits run out. He says sometimes there's a fifth level, which triggers on and off based on unemployment rates. He says that 5th level of benefits are the ones that would be cut.
"A lot of people, not just myself, are going through a whole lot. Times are really hard. Right now, the state extensions are putting food on peoples' tables, it's paying peoples' bills, it's putting gas in their cars, so that they can go look for a job,"said Hardy.
Perdue's press secretary says the governor might make a decision on the bill by Saturday afternoon. The house and senate have scheduled rare saturday sessions in case Governor Perdue vetos the bill.