Governor Signs Bill to Repay COVID-19 Unemployment Debt

Unrelated to the budget — but still a priority for manufacturers — Gov. Mike DeWine this week signed House Bill 168, which, among other things, authorizes the repayment of Ohio’s federal loan that funded the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system throughout much of the pandemic. Without action by the General Assembly, Ohio would have owed the federal government as much as $1.6 billion — all of which would have eventually been paid by Ohio employers since employers fully fund the UI system.

As authorized by HB 168, the loan will be repaid with federal COVID-19 relief dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The OMA, which has urged lawmakers for years to address the solvency of Ohio’s UI trust fund, strongly supported the use of ARPA funds to repay the loan. OMA President Ryan Augsburger said: “By repaying Ohio’s UI debt with federal relief dollars, legislators have prevented a massive tax hike on manufacturers and other job creators.” 6/28/2021