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Ohio to start paying off loan for jobless aid

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio is ready to start making payments on a $2.6 billion federal loan taken out during the recession to replenish a fund that pays unemployment benefits.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state this month plans to pay $370 million, representing $70 million in interest and $300 million to pay down the principle.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson says the $70 million was set aside by state lawmakers from money Ohio received in a settlement with tobacco companies. The $300 million will come from the state's unemployment trust fund, which Johnson says is recovering.

Ohio began borrowing from the federal government in early 2009 as the trust fund dwindled after years of paying out more in benefits than it took in from unemployment taxes.