On January 19, the Ohio House will begin hearings on HB 394, proposed legislation that would slash benefits for the unemployed.
Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga described the toll this bill would take on working families:
“The unemployment compensation reform legislation introduced today is an incredibly imbalanced approach toward solvency. It unfairly puts the burden of reform on the backs of the unemployed while employers will pay less overall. The bill foolishly goes after the benefits of working people and does not represent sacrifice by all parties involved.
“The bill completely misdiagnoses the solvency problem by cutting needed benefits when it is very clear that the real problem with Ohio’s unemployment compensation fund is that employers have been paying way too little into the system for far too long.
“It is also very clear that the authors of this bill did not give any consideration to the working people of Ohio who will be disproportionately hurt by this lopsided bill. I urge the legislature to go back to the drawing board and do what’s right by all Ohioans, workers and employers alike.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Barbara Sears, (R-Toledo), is likely to pass the Ohio House this month following the hearings. Here is what it would do:
Cuts in Unemployment Benefits
In total, this bill would reduce unemployment benefits by an estimated average of $465 million each year, beginning in 2018 and running through 2025. This would include fewer weeks of benefits, mandatory drug testing, and reduced eligibility. Lastly, there would be no additional benefits for dependents.
Tax breaks for employers
If passed, this bill would cut the contribution rates for most new employers. In addition, by cutting benefits, it would mean employers would have to pay fewer taxes.
You can read more about HB 394 here.