SC unemployment agency paying $106M toward debt

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment agency is paying down $106 million of its debt to the federal government, saving employers money in insurance rates.

      A Department of Employment and Workforce spokeswoman says the agency plans to make the payment Friday.

      It includes $77 million that legislators put toward the debt in their 2012-13 budget. That designation cut the impending hike on unemployment insurance taxes, saving businesses an average of 12 percent.

      Spokeswoman Mary-Kathryn Craft says businesses will receive revised tax notices in October.

      Director Abraham Turner says the payment will reduce the agency's debt to $676 million. The agency had to borrow nearly $1 billion from the federal government to keep sending checks amid climbing jobless rates.

      Turner says the agency is on track to pay back every dime by October 2015.