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      SC unemployment agency paying $106M toward debt

      South Carolina's unemployment agency is paying down $106.5 million of its debt to the federal government two months ahead of schedule.

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

      Legislators included $77 million in unemployment tax relief in their 2012-13 budget. That designation directly benefits businesses by cutting the impending hike on insurance taxes. On average, businesses will save 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.

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