More N. Carolina companies failing to pay payroll taxes

As unemployment hovers at record highs and the recession's lingering effects batter businesses, state authorities say a growing number of companies are falling behind on paying unemployment insurance taxes.

More than 11,300 businesses statewide — about 6 percent of those that contribute the payroll taxes that fund jobless benefits — were delinquent as of the end of June, owing $13.5 million, state officials say.

The shortage of cash means laid-off employees of delinquent companies are waiting longer for their unemployment checks or aren't getting them at all. The decline is also causing the N.C. Employment Security Commission, the state agency that doles out unemployment benefits, to borrow more from the federal government.

Ultimately, it could mean higher unemployment taxes and lower benefits for businesses and workers, as state officials scramble to pay back the debt.

"The number of employers who are delinquent is a serious concern for us," said Moses Carey Jr., the ESC's chairman. "… We've got a hole to dig ourselves out of."

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