Using federal dollars strategically to shore up Ohio’s unemployment system will also contribute to Ohio’s year of recovery. Governor Mike DeWine recommended to the General Assembly that Ohio use a portion of its federal COVID relief and recovery dollars to pay off the Unemployment Insurance loan owed to the federal government.
“This loan was caused by the global pandemic, and paying it off now will free Ohio employers from this burden so they can instead focus on getting employees across our state back to work.,” said Governor DeWine “This will help small businesses owners and employees, and I look forward to working with our partners in the General Assembly on legislation to pay off the loan.”
NFIB issued the following statement on that announcement:
“During the last unemployment crisis, Ohio borrowed about $3.4 billion to pay unemployment benefits to workers. During that time, Ohio employers were hit with federal interest and penalties that cost them over $3 billion. Due to the COVID pandemic, Ohio is already over $1.4 billion in unemployment compensation debt. To pay that back would be a huge cost to Ohio businesses who are trying desperately to recover and hire people,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.
“In surveys conducted by NFIB at the state and federal level, over half of Ohio members indicated they were seeing revenues down during the pandemic of at least 25%, with 15% of survey responders saying revenues were down over 50%. When asked how long small businesses could be able to operate their business under current economic conditions, almost one in three NFIB members say they will have to shut their doors within the next year if conditions persist,” he continued.
“There is an economic development advantage to using federal dollars to pay back unemployment borrowing. Other states have already done this, and they will be ahead in the economic recovery. By doing this it shows Ohio cares about the small business community by preventing them from paying an unfair penalty on their unemployment insurance premiums that they had no control over. This will give Ohio an advantage over states that chose not to do so. We urge the Ohio General Assembly to quickly enact this critically important recommendation for small businesses from Governor Mike DeWine to create certainty in our unemployment system,” Geiger concluded.
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