breaking news

Greenon schools offer counseling to students following recent deaths

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.

By the numbers

The proposal would raise about $370 million a year from 2019 to 2030 by:

  • Raising the taxable wage base paid by employers to $11,000 per employee, up from $9,500.
  • Charging employees a new co-insurance payment of 10 percent of the amount paid by his employer.
  • Freezing the amount of weekly benefits for 10 years.
  • Reducing the maximum number of weeks benefits can be received to 24, down from 26.
  • Limiting additional payments for dependents under certain circumstances.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Touch a venomous asp caterpillar; get ready to scream
Touch a venomous asp caterpillar; get ready to scream

An asp caterpillar, also known as the southern flannel moth caterpillar, found mostly in Texas, Florida and Louisiana, delivers a painful punch, if you touch it. It’s tempting (really, really tempting) to touch, pick up, pet or poke this furry looking  caterpillar.” If you do, experts with the Austin Zoo warn, you will most definitely...
See the trailer for ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’ special
See the trailer for ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’ special

A new animated Halloween special with the music of Michael Jackson is coming just before the holiday. Entertainment Weekly reported that CBS released a trailer for “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” Wednesday. The trailer was posted on the official Michael Jackson Twitter page. The special features the voice work of actors Lucy Liu...
Imagine being dead and knowing you’re dead, that’s what happened in new study
Imagine being dead and knowing you’re dead, that’s what happened in new study

Scientists may be a step closer to solving the mystery surrounding death and what happens next. New research finds a person’s brain is still active after the heart stops beating, so many people actually may be aware that they have died, according to a new report. Researchers from New York University’s Langone School of Medicine are...
ACLU: Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional
ACLU: Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that an Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional. The statement was released after Stuart Public Schools enacted a policy requiring all students, staff and spectators to stand for the national anthem, prohibiting any form of protest. The Hughes County school's policy was announced...
House hunters, here are 5 secrets to getting the best home loan
House hunters, here are 5 secrets to getting the best home loan

Getting a home mortgage loan is one of the most important financial commitments most people will ever make, since the terms of your loan can affect your finances in a big way for years to come. Start shopping for a loan before you actually begin looking at homes, since this lets you know where you stand and gives you greater negotiating power with...
More Stories