NJ's unemployment funds almost dried up

The skyrocketing unemployment rates may have caught New Jersey off-guard - the state's unemployment coffers are almost empty as the Labor Department is being swamped with calls.

If the state is unable to find money to put back in the unemployment fund, New Jersey businesses could face a $400,000 tax hike next year. More than $5 billion has been raided from the unemployment funds.

"This has been going on for quite some time," says taxpayer advocate Steve Lonegan. "The process of raising the Unemployment Trust Fund to fund charity care started years ago. We're the only state to have done this ? and it's a real tragedy for employees of this state."

The state is also having trouble handling the influx of calls to its automated Labor Department hotline. After dialing the number for hours, News 12 New Jersey was unable to get anything but a busy signal.

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