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Vt. governor touts unemployment disaster relief

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Some 75 Vermont businesses hit by natural disasters in 2011 will be eligible for $5 million in unemployment insurance relief under a new state law.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says the companies, with a combined total of about 300 employees, were hit with unemployment insurance rate increases because they were forced to lay workers off when closed by flooding.

A new law passed this year provides relief from those increases to offset about eight weeks' worth of layoffs. Original projections were that the move would cost the state unemployment insurance fund about $8 million, but that has been revised downward to about $5 million.