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      DEW: SC businesses to likely see tax decrease

      South Carolina's unemployment agency may pay $150 million less in benefits this year by clamping down on who qualifies.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment agency may pay $150 million less in benefits this year by clamping down on who qualifies.

      Department of Employment and Workforce assistant director Laura Robinson told senators Tuesday that employers' tax rates for unemployment insurance should go down for 2013. She says the department is on track to pay as little as $300 million in benefits this year to jobless workers. That compares to roughly $450 million last year.

      The drop comes despite the state's stubbornly high jobless rate of over 9%

      Robinson says that's due to internal policy changes and a new law requiring the agency to deny all benefits to workers fired for misconduct.

      But Senate subcommittee Chairman Kevin Bryant continues to accuse the agency of not abiding by the law. He believes rates will go up.

      "I suspect taxes will not go down. Some changes are being made, I'm being told that they were. I would love to see a successful agency, and I would love to see the tax burden of our employers drop."

      The committee will meet October 11 to review specific cases to check for any wrongful payments.