NM lawmakers OK 72% tax hike on businesses as unemployment fix

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers are sending Gov. Susana Martinez a proposal to shore up the state's unemployment compensation program by raising taxes on employers and cutting jobless benefits.

If the governor signs the legislation, taxes on businesses will go up by $128 million next year.

The Workforce Solutions Department projects the unemployment fund will run out of money by next March without any changes.

Under the legislation, average tax payments by a business for each of its employees will increase to about $370 a year starting in January. That's a jump of $155, or about 72 percent. Rates vary for businesses depending on their history of unemployment claims.

The bill eliminates benefits for jobless workers attending school full-time.

The measure won final approval early Thursday when the House accepted a Senate-passed version.