State may cut jobless benefits, raise employer insurance premiums


Jobless benefits may be cut and employer insurance premiums hiked under a new plan to shore up Ohio’s broken unemployment compensation fund.

State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, said his bill would split the burden nearly evenly between workers and employers. It would freeze the maximum weekly benefit paid to workers at $443 for 10 years, change benefits paid for dependents, charge workers a 10 percent co-insurance fee and limit benefits to up to 24 to 26 weeks, depending on the industry. Employers would pay taxes on the first $11,000 that workers make, up from the current $9,000.

“This is just to start but it’s a reflection of some of the suggestions that were made in our working group,” Schuring said.

Labor, business and political leaders have been working on a long-term fix for more than 10 months.

Related: No solvency plan for unemployment comp fund, leaders say

Related: Unemployment fund fix would slash benefits

The goal is to improve the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, which receives premiums from employers and pays out benefits to laid off workers. Roughly 200,000 Ohio workers rely on unemployment checks over the course of a year.

The fund went broke in 2009 during the Great Recession, forcing Ohio to borrow $3.39 billion from the federal government from 2009 to 2014. The loan cost the state $257.7 million in interest.

Zach Schiller, of Policy Matters Ohio, said Schuring’s proposal isn’t a true solvency plan, the numbers need more analysis, and some of the elements seem to create an administrative burden for the state. While it’s an improvement over previous proposals, Schuring’s proposal doesn’t fix the underlying problem that employer taxes have been too low for most of the past two decades, he said.

“You have to look at the entire thing as a combination of proposals,” Schiller said. “We don’t really know that it’s a 50-50 split (between workers and employers). I think we need more analysis on this.”

Schuring is also proposing that Ohio set up a bond fund for times when the insurance fund is drained. This would allow the state to avoid borrowing from the federal government, he said. The bond would require voter approval.

If there are no changes, the fund is expected to be insolvent again by 2021 — possibly by 2020 if there is a moderate recession, according to the Legislative Service Commission.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

A return of flying sergeants? Air Force says no despite too few pilots
A return of flying sergeants? Air Force says no despite too few pilots

The Air Force will launch a high-tech training experiment testing both officers and enlisted airmen to prepare pilots for the cockpit faster. But, despite a growing shortage of aviators, it won’t be a return to the wartime days of flying sergeants – at least for now, according to the Air Force. The six-month initiative at a military reserve...
Babies evacuated after smoke reported at Miami Valley Hospital
Babies evacuated after smoke reported at Miami Valley Hospital

Several babies had to be relocated at Miami Valley Hospital after an overheated motor generated smoke. Dayton District Fire Chief James Rose said nine or 10 babies in the Berry Women’s Center were moved to another part of the hospital due to smoke. He said most of the smoke was was contained and did not make it into the air handling system for...
Snakes die as a result of Englewood garage fire
Snakes die as a result of Englewood garage fire

Snakes are among the animals that died after a garage fire occurred in Englewood early Monday morning. Crews responded to the 4500 block of Roblar Hills Drive around 1 a.m. on a fully involved detached garage fire, per initial reports. The garage, which was used as a work station, had animals, a vehicle, and propane tanks inside, which were all lost...
WPAFB Monday Weather: Possible afternoon shower, snow to move into Tuesday
WPAFB Monday Weather: Possible afternoon shower, snow to move into Tuesday

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—More clouds are expected on Monday, and while it will be a notch warmer, it’s still going to be below the normal high for this time of the year, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. We’ll see highs in the upper 30s. Some models hint at a passing light shower north of I-70 this afternoon...
‘Miracle baby’ takes first steps after surviving double-fatal crash
‘Miracle baby’ takes first steps after surviving double-fatal crash

A 14-month-old, the lone survivor of a crash that killed two family members, escaped the wreckage with only a few scrapes. The baby, Harlyn, was in her car seat when a pickup truck went off State Route 380, flipped, and slammed into a tree on a local campground. Her grandfather, 49-year-old Carl Perry and great grandmother, 73-year-old Linda Davis...
More Stories