COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State lawmakers in Ohio failed to pass an overhaul of Ohio’s unemployment benefit system before recessing for the holidays, despite a promise to take action on the looming financial issue by year’s end.
The Legislature recessed earlier this month without action on a compromise bill that called for reducing at least some worker benefits while also requiring employers to pay more in taxes.
The proposal would freeze maximum weekly benefits rates for unemployed workers for 10 years and, in some cases, cut the number of weeks for which workers are able to collect benefits.
The inaction came after a directive from GOP House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, of Clarksville, calling on members to move legislation on the matter out of a House committee and have it ready for a vote before the holiday break, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
State Rep. Kirk Schuring, a Canton Republican who led a yearlong effort to forge a compromise bill, said he’s not giving up on getting both sides to agree on a solution.
“It seems like both sides would like to have it 100 percent their way … but I’m still working on it. I’m not giving up,” Schuring said.
Ohio’s unemployment system is currently financed by employer taxes paid into a trust fund to provide unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks.
Concern has grown in the wake of the national recession that started in 2007 about the system’s structure and how long the state’s unemployment compensation fund can be sustained.