Ohio repays Treasury $1.5B for federal unemployment loan

September 1, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has repaid the U.S. Treasury the nearly $1.5 billion the state borrowed for unemployment benefits to residents during the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

The reimbursement to the Treasury, using funds dispersed through the federal COVID-19 rescue package, will prevent employers from facing future tax increases in order to pay off the loan.

“I’m not willing to let our employers bear the unemployment debt burden caused by the pandemic,” DeWine, a Republican, said during a news conference alongside GOP Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Ohio business leaders. “Without this added tax burden, our employers can invest more money into their businesses and hire more staff.”

The repayment comes just days before the Sept. 6 deadline when the federal government would have begun charging 2.27% interest on the debt.

The state made about a total of $2.1 billion in unemployment insurance overpayments during the coronavirus pandemic. Included in that figure were overpayments that resulted from fraud or errors, according to the state Department of Job and Family Services.