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Government & Politics

Unemployment Compensation Reform Tops Agenda for New Ohio House Speaker

Photo of Cliff Rosenberger joined by business and labor leaders
Business and labor groups join former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger in December 2016 to announce a plan to fix the unemployment compensation fund. Since then lawmakers have not passed any measures.

The new House speaker says now that his seven-week-long battle to get elected is over, it’s time to focus on several big issues. Among those:  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," asked Smith.  "Where’s the sweet spot and I think Representative 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.

Ohio just paid off the more than $3 billion it borrowed from the feds in the last recession.