Originally published as, “Ohio has no idea how to pay U.S. back for jobless benefits”
hat tip: Dispatch Politics
By Catherine Candisky
$2 billion-plus debt grows as leaders pass the hot potato
It has been more than a year since Ohio depleted its unemployment-compensation fund, and with the fund’s debt surpassing $2billion and growing, a fix is nowhere in sight.
No one has even proposed what should be done to shore up the fund – not the governor, not the General Assembly, not an advisory panel made up of business, labor and legislative leaders.
In fact, state leaders can’t even agree on who is responsible for solving the problem.
The Unemployment Compensation Advisory Council threw its hands up 15 months ago after it was unable to reach consensus; it said the legislature would have to figure out a solution.
GOP leaders in the Senate say Gov. Ted Strickland must come up with a plan. The governor has urged the council to take another crack at it.
Absent action from the Statehouse, Ohio will owe the federal unemployment trust fund an estimated $3billion by the end of the year. Interest payments on the loan, which begin to accrue on Jan. 1, are projected at $120 million a year.
Frustrations boiled over again in a Senate committee hearing this week when Republican legislators pushed the administration for answers.
“It’s amazing the governor hasn’t said anything about this,” said Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina. “This is a problem that is not going to get any smaller. … It’s part of a big hole going into the next budget.”