Toledo, OH – Today the Lucas County Commissioners stood with local labor leaders to voice opposition to House Bill 394, legislation reforming Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, and urged state legislators to find a fair solution to fix insolvency issues of Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
“House Bill 394 is a direct attempt to balance the unemployment trust fund solely on the working people of Ohio,” stated Commissioner Pete Gerken. “It’s unfair.”
The legislation drastically cuts unemployment benefits and creates new hurdles for Ohioans to qualify for benefits in the first place, making Ohio’s unemployment system among the most restrictive in the U.S.
“The Ohio Unemployment Trust Fund has been underfunded for years, and it is unconscionable to expect unemployed Ohioans to fix the problem,” added Commissioner Carol Contrada. “This bill puts barriers before our most vulnerable citizens, making Ohio last in the nation in terms of fair access to benefits.”
Proposed changes include drug testing for applicants, a decrease in benefit weeks to some of the lowest levels in the nation, and implements an offset for Ohioans receiving certain Social Security benefits.
Lucas County residents receiving unemployment benefits account for $6.8M in weekly economic activity into our local economy. Restricting access to unemployment benefits not only impacts an individual and their ability to meet their basic need but it hurts our local economy.
"Now that unemployment in Lucas County has declined to around five percent, many have returned to work,” commented Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak. “Those who are unemployed could be thrust into poverty if it wasn't for this benefit. I urge the Ohio Legislature to find a more adequate solution."