The new Ohio House Speaker says now that the seven-week-long fight to elect him is over, it’s time to regain focus on several big issues, chief among them an effort to reform the state’s unemployment compensation fund.
It’s been more than a year and half since top House leaders joined business and labor groups, pledging to shore up the fund that pays benefits to laid off workers.
As Republican House Speaker Ryan Smith explains, the state will go into debt to the feds unless a fix is passed.
“That’s where the rub comes in, because is it a matter of truncating benefits? Is it a matter of businesses paying more?” Smith says. “Where’s the sweet spot? And I think Rep. Schuring to try to find that sweet spot, and it has as it’s always been a tough issue.”
Labor and business groups are against the current House bill, each claiming they’re shouldering too much of the burden. HB 282 has gotten 20 House committee meetings, but the AFL-CIO says it doesn’t raise employer taxes enough while the Ohio Chamber of Commerce says it doesn’t cut enough spending.
Ohio just paid off the more than $3 billion it borrowed from the federal government in the last recession.