In talking with Ohio Chamber members, it is apparent many are facing workforce shortages that are preventing them from returning their operations to pre-pandemic levels. This shortage jeopardizes Ohio’s economic recovery and the ability of some companies to remain open since business revenues have yet to fully recover.
Gov. DeWine thankfully recognized this challenge and used his authority to terminate the federal government’s $300 weekly unemployment benefit starting on June 27th. The bonus unemployment benefit authorized by the CARES Act created a disincentive for many Ohioans to work. In fact, for individuals earning less than $41,496 a year, they make more in a week collecting unemployment than earning a paycheck.
However, recently filed litigation by former Attorney General Marc Dann’s law firm attempts to force Ohio to administer certain federal unemployment benefits including the extra $300 weekly payment. The lawsuit, which is being heard in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, mirrors litigation in Indiana that successfully upended their governor’s decision to withdrawal from federal unemployment programs and poses a threat to employers’ ability to hire more workers.
That is why the Ohio Chamber of Commerce filed an amicus brief in this lawsuit to push back on the tenuous claims alleging Ohio must continue offering federal unemployment benefits. Removing the supplemental unemployment will incentivize more Ohioans to look for work and aid employers – many of whom are offering hiring bonuses and raising their wages – build the workforce needed to return to pre-pandemic operating levels.
This brief is only the latest effort the Ohio Chamber has led to help Ohio’s economy and our members rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. In the state’s two-year operating budget we successfully removed the sales tax on employment services, so staffing companies and the businesses that rely on them for workers are no longer taxed every time someone is hired. The Ohio Chamber also secured funding from the American Rescue Plan to eliminate the state’s unemployment loan which will save employers across the Buckeye State $100 million in added payroll taxes next year.
Restoring Ohio’s economy is a top priority of the Ohio Chamber as we look forward and we will continue advocating across the branches of Ohio’s government to assure the business community has their voice heard in driving policy that will lead to a vibrant post-pandemic economy.