The Ohio House of Representatives recently created a study committee to address the unemployment compensation debt that the State of Ohio owes the federal government. State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) has been appointed to the 13-member bipartisan panel assigned that task.

The debt owed to the federal government occurred as a result of necessary recession spending. Additionally, the state has not made changes to the unemployment compensation system over the years to help keep the fund solvent. As a result of the debt, and inaction by the state, employers are paying more per employee even if they have not made claims. The state currently owes the federal government around $2 billion.

“Finding a viable solution to this problem is long overdue. We need to work with business and labor to both resolve the debt issue and to make changes to ensure that the unemployment compensation fund is solvent. Leadership came to me and asked that I be part of this effort due to my experience with a similar situation in the 1980’s. I look forward to working with all interested parties to resolve this problem. I appreciate the fact that leadership calls me when these types of difficult issues arise,” Rep. Cera stated.

The committee will be briefed on the background of the fund’s problems and hear recommendations from employers, unions and recipients on the adjustments necessary to keep the fund solvent. Rep. Cera believes that a bipartisan effort will be necessary to deal with this difficult and complex issue.

“During these meetings, this committee needs to gather information from all sides of this tough issue. We need to invest in policy that can provide Ohio’s workers with the help they need as they try to move from unemployment to new jobs—while at the same time, making sure that employers’ concerns are heard,” said Rep. Cera.

The first hearing will be August 5 at the Statehouse in Columbus. Additional hearings will take place in Mansfield, Springfield, Miamisburg and Toledo over the next few months.

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