Proposed unemployment fix shorts Ohio workers
Posted January 10, 2018 in Press Releases
Ohio’s proposed fix to its unemployment compensation system needs more work, Policy Matters Ohio testified today. House Bill 382 is an improvement over earlier attempts to bolster the system’s solvency but the legislation still requires too many cuts to worker benefits. Researcher Hannah Halbert told the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee that:
- It is not possible to say that this is a 50-50 deal, where employers and employees each are paying a comparable share of the costs. To start with, one very substantial benefit to employers appears to have been omitted from the calculation. Other factors also aren’t included.
- Unemployment compensation (UC) benefits in Ohio are not overly generous, and cutting benefits would make Ohio an outlier among states.
- The main source of our trust fund problem is that it was underfinanced for many years. Employer taxes have been below average. The solution to a problem should be based on its main causes, and in this case, that is inadequate taxation.
“Ohioans are less likely to qualify for benefits than jobless workers nationally. We require that workers earn more to qualify than in almost any other state. We deny benefits to jobless Ohioans seeking part-time work, even if they are seeking similar part-time status to the jobs they were laid off from, and even though their employers paid taxes on their wages,” Halbert said.
Including an employee premium to avoid more drastic benefit cuts is a good solvency strategy. But cutting benefit weeks and extending a benefit freeze for another nine years, as the bill proposes, does not address the reason the system went broke.