The Massachusetts House of Representatives has approved a $130 million spending bill that includes a freeze on the unemployment insurance rate paid by businesses.
The measure marked the fourth consecutive year that lawmakers have voted to spare businesses a scheduled increase.
The move is estimated to save businesses $220 per employee this year, an increase of 25 percent according to Democratic leaders. Republicans who supported the freeze said the increase would have been closer to 31 percent.
Employers are required to pay into a trust fund that helps cover unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.
Businesses said raising the unemployment insurance rate would hurt companies when the economy is still fragile.
Labor leaders say the freeze threatens the long-term solvency of the trust fund.
The budget now goes to the Senate.
This program aired on January 19, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.