Testimony to the House Unemployment Compensation Debt Study Committee
Posted September 09, 2014 in Press Releases
Download testimony (5pp)Press release
Ohio's unemployment compensation solvency problem not the economy, but administrative underfunding; fixing that is crucial because Ohio dropped the ball on funding claims for the displaced workers in greatest need.
Prepared for delivery, Springfield, Ohio
Good afternoon, Chairwoman Sears and members of the unemployment compensation study committee. My name is Zach Schiller and I am research director of Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the mission of creating a more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today about Ohio’s unemployment compensation system and our UC debt to the federal government.
I’d like to summarize some key points:
Ohio is very stingy about who it allows to qualify for unemployment benefits, and fewer unemployed qualify here than across the country;
UC tax levels in Ohio are lower than average, and come to less than a penny per dollar of wages;
Not all states went broke; most often, those that did had underfunded their UC programs;
That was the key reason for our insolvency, as a report to the state found earlier, and
Most importantly, Ohio taxes just the first $9,000 of wages, a very low amount. This amounts needs to be raised and indexed.
Ohio’s unemployment compensation system covers fewer of the state’s jobless workers than UC across the U.S. This has been consistently true for many years. During the year ended in June, just 22 percent of Ohio unemployed received regular state benefits. Our monetary eligibility