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Lawmakers expect quick action on unemployment comp bill

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by Gary Hunt

OSCPA staff report

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, and Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, told Hannah News Service on Wednesday that they expect a substitute bill addressing unemployment compensation reforms to be introduced the week after Thanksgiving, and that passing it through both chambers will be a top priority in the lame duck session.

The State of Ohio on Aug. 30 paid off its unemployment compensation debt to the federal government. But Ohio's unemployment system remains structurally out of balance, and even a small recession could make it insolvent immediately. Without a legislative remedy, that could again trigger significant penalties on Ohio employers.

Enter House Bill 394, which could help to prevent future borrowing from the federal government by making the trust fund solvent. The bill was backed by several business groups who said they cannot afford to pay any more in taxes to keep the fund afloat, while labor groups and others opposed it, saying the cuts in the bill fell disproportionately on workers. During the summer, the House and Senate decided to seek a compromise through hearings by a joint committee.

Earlier this month, attorney Tony Fiore told that committee on behalf of OSCPA and the Society for Human Resource Management that the system needs “to be solvent, affordable, predictable, and provide a seamless pathway for claimants to quickly return to the workforce.”

And previously, the Society’s Ohio Tax Reform Task Force white paper recommended the legislature take steps to ensure the system’s solvency. House leaders said solvency is the top priority of the bill, and they are now discussing details with the Senate and the Kasich administration.

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