In an effort to help North Carolina's sluggish economy, Gov. Jim Martin last week asked legislators to cut about $50 million in unemployment taxes paid by the state's businesses.

Gov. Martin said he is proposing the cuts to help small businesses and "give a little extra stimulus to the economy." The state can afford to cut the taxes, the governor said, because an unemployment-tax reserve fund, which is separate from the North Carolina general fund, is flush with more than a $1 billion in cash.

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