DeWine and Buckeye Institute advocate ending unemployment assistance in pandemic | Ohio News | Cincinnati
A think tank supporting Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to end supplemental unemployment assistance despite an ongoing pandemic impacting the economy is once again pushing the Ohio Supreme Court to back the decision. The governor himself also intervenes.
Additional federal assistance from the CARES Act expired on September 4, 2021, although DeWine ended it in Ohio on June 26, 2021.
In a court case filed this week by attorney (and former state senate) Larry Obhof, the Buckeye Institute called the early termination of Supplemental Federal Pandemic Compensation (FPUC) “good policy economic “.
The group argued in its second push for the court to side with DeWine that “neither state nor federal law requires Ohio to continue participating” in the unemployment program.
“Federal law makes it clear that states are free to participate and, if they wish, also to withdraw from the program,” the institute wrote in the Jan. 10 court filing.
Ohio residents, Candy Bowling, Shawnee Huff and David Willis, sued the DeWine administration in September for the reinstatement of additional monthly unemployment benefits of $ 300, which they said is needed to cover the expenses of the household items such as rent, food and medical bills since they were made redundant due to the pandemic, according to their lawsuit.
It is always up to the court to decide whether the governor, and not the state as a whole, was required to continue to participate in the program. Obhof says in court documents that he is not.
“Because the governor acted legally, the courts cannot substitute their judgment for his political decision,” he wrote.
The group argues, as DeWine did when it decided to cut benefits, that the additional payments “delayed employees’ return to work” and that the end of the support brought back more employees, although companies across the country are still struggling to get back to full staff.
“The governor’s decision to end additional payments from the FPUC was not a magic talisman for the Ohio economy, but it was sound economic policy,” the institute wrote.
DeWine filed his own brief arguing the lower court ruling that the governor should not have ended aid “based on a misreading of a state law” requiring the director of the The Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services is making the necessary rules and regulations to “” secure for this state and its citizens the benefits “of federal laws, in this case the CARES Act funds.
“No state law – ‘long-standing’ or otherwise – has required Ohio to participate in the program here at issue,” DeWine’s brief said. “Because nothing compelled the governor to participate in the program, the governor’s withdrawal did not contradict any political mandate of the legislature. ”
In supporting the governor, the Buckeye Institute interpreted the additional unemployment benefits as negative for the economy, as the Goldman Sachs economists cited in their brief estimated that the median benefit recipient received “about 90% of his or her previous salary. “, although he did not specify it. what was the median salary of these recipients or whether it was enough to support Ohioans in an essential way.
The Buckeye Institute’s brief joined other groups in Ohio who supported the governor’s decision. In August of last year, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Business Roundtable, the Ohio Restaurant Association, the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, the Ohio Grocers Association, and the Ohio Trucking Association filed their own brief saying that the benefits of the FPUC “will lead to a scenario where many people will earn more from unemployment than from working”, calling the staffing problems for companies a “shortage of artificially created labor”.
The groups again asked for their support in a Jan. 7 case, which also included the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
In this case, they made an equivalent argument with the Buckeye Institute that the governor is authorized to “exercise discretion over Ohio’s participation in federal programs.”
The state Supreme Court has rejected two attempts in the case to speed up the adjudication process, but did not set other deadlines in the case, including whether or not they will have oral argument to hear the lawyers on both sides.
This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.
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