CINCINNATI (WXIX) – New legislation would allow Ohio to use COVID-19 relief funds to pay off a loan it got from the federal government to help pay unemployment benefits.
This loan amount swelled to a staggering $ 1,471,807,655.46.
âPaying off the debt is a good first step,â said Steve Stivers, president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
If no action is taken, the state is expected to start paying interest on the loan in September.
This scenario played out during the Great Recession of 2008.
Ohio had to repay more than $ 258 million in interest. Indeed, the fund that pays the benefits was deemed insolvent before the pandemic struck.
This meant that the state did not have enough money to pay a year of unemployment benefits in the event of a crisis.
States that have creditworthy unemployment compensation trust funds do not need to repay interest on federal government unemployment loans.
The repayment of the loan did not solve the problem of the Ohio trust fund, which had been ruled insolvent since 1974.
âI applaud the lawmakers,â Stivers said. “But that doesn’t mean our unemployment crisis is over.”
For over a year, FOX19 Now Investigates has been examining the fund and the fight for how to fix it.
The money in the fund comes from the employers.
There have been several options on the table over the years.
These include taxing business owners more and reducing the number of benefits claimants receive.
Stivers also has an approach.
“We need to take it to the next level and create incentives for people to return to work sooner, and create systems that help people who might need more help with training and things like that,” and get it to them sooner so they spend less time unemployed, âStivers said.
Below are the full details of the HB 168:
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