A road map to rid North Carolina of its $2.4 billion debt to the federal government for jobless benefits and to place the state's unemployment insurance system on sturdier financial footing is getting sketched out by legislators and business leaders.

It could be rocky both for employers who pay for the benefits and displaced employees who receive them. It might be the first test of how Gov.-elect Pat McCrory works with fellow Republicans running the Legislature.

Based on interviews, the legislative proposal set to be unveiled early next month would likely keep businesses paying more to pay down debt and reduce benefits for workers who become jobless in the future. McCrory also is expected to have his own ideas.