State Representative Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) introduced H.B. 394 to address the shortfalls in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund by proposing to dramatically cut laid off workers’ benefits.
After having several meetings with Rep. Sears to discuss this issue, she apparently has no interest in working together with the hard-working people of Ohio to try and find common ground.
As a result, this bill does nothing to get at the real source of the solvency problem, which is that employers have been paying way too little into the system for far too long. In fact, employers only pay a percentage into the system on the first $9,000 a worker earns — where it has been for the last 20 years. This is the problem, and this proposal falls terribly short of addressing this flaw.
Instead, this bill places the burden on laid off workers through benefit cuts, such as slashing the number of benefit weeks from 26 to as few as 12, and reducing maximum awards for those with dependents. As far as shared sacrifice, which the author stated this bill represents, she testified herself that when fully implemented, businesses will pay less in unemployment compensation taxes than they currently do.
For these reasons and others the Ohio AFL-CIO and countless other organizations like Advocates for Ohio’s Future stand in opposition to this bill and will work closely with our policy partners, including Policy Matters Ohio, to review and report on its effects to working people.
The next scheduled hearing for the bill is Tuesday, January 19. Please be on the look for our call to action communications. If you have not signed-up for our E Alerts at the top of this page and follow us on Facebook.
Please report on your legislative communications to Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Director Matt Smith If you have any questions, or for additional information please contact Matt.