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Legislature approves federally-funded unemployment extensions

More than 14,000 Wisconsinites who've used up their state unemployment benefits may now be eligible for 13 more weeks of federal payments.

The state Assembly and Senate paved the way for those benefits Wednesday.

They voted to suspend two state extensions, and use the federally-funded extensions instead.

Officials say the move will save about $40 million in higher employer taxes at a time when the state fund for jobless benefits is about to run dry.

Auditors say that will happen in February.

So the state is preserving what it can by tapping federal jobless monies.

Workforce development officials will mail notices to those eligible for the longer benefits.

Wisconsin became eligible for the federal extensions when its average jobless rate for those covered by unemployment insurance went above 4 percent.

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