In 2008 and 2020 Ohio’s unemployment insurance fund was tested by a national recession, and failed both times.
This resulted in the state needing to borrow money from the federal government to payout unemployment benefits. Those billions of dollars in loans had to be paid back with interest.
Ohio plans to use COVID recovery dollars to pay the current $1.4 billion it owes the feds this time around but Gov. Mike DeWine wants lawmakers to make the fund solvent.
“So we’re recommending we pay off the debt, but we still are left with a structural problem.”
Ohio businesses are currently paying into the unemployment system based on the first $9,000 of an employee’s taxable wages.
Tim Burga is president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, which represents unions. He says that’s the lowest taxable wage base compared to Ohio’s five bordering states, and increasing the fees on businesses will shore up the fund.
“When you look at how frontline workers have put their health on the line to get us through this pandemic I think we’re going to see an opportunity where the employers will understand that they need to step up and just do the average with what the rest of the country is doing to help move the system into a solvency place.”