by Todd Defeo
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants the board of directors for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to approve sending up to $1.5 billion in dividend payments to employers across the state.
If approved, it would be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April, DeWine said during a Thursday press conference. The $1.5 billion totals the premiums paid during the 2019 policy year, and officials say the payout is possible because of several factors, including a lower number of claims and strong returns on investment.
In April, the BWC dispersed more than $1.3 billion to businesses and $184 million to local taxing districts. The agency anticipated providing a dividend next year, but, if approved, it could start sending checks in late October.
“Employers told us after the April dividend that these dollars certainly can be lifesavers for business,” DeWine said during a news conference. “I made the decision to ask the board to do this and to do it now and not wait because we know there are some businesses out there that very much can use this money now.”
In May, the BWC said it would defer premium payments for employers, and installments for June, July and August would instead be due on Sept. 1. The governor also said he plans to ask the BWC board to distribute a second round of face coverings to Ohio employers and their workers as part of the agency’s “Protecting Ohio’s Workforce – We’ve Got You Covered” program.
“They’ve already shipped 20.6 million masks to 197,000 employers and their workforce since May,” DeWine said on Twitter. “This second round will consist of approximately 23 million masks to employers and are meant to replace any masks that have exhausted their effective use.”
On Thursday, Ohio reported 112,003 “confirmed and probable” COVID-19 cases and 3,650 “confirmed and probable” deaths from the virus, which originated in China.
“Ohio continues to see a shift in virus spread. In urban areas, where residents have been wearing masks longer, we’re seeing spread decline, but rural areas are seeing more spread,” DeWine said in a news release. “The best ways to stop the virus continue to be staying home when you can, wearing your mask and social distancing when you go out, and washing your hands often.”
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Todd Defeo is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Ohio Capitol” by Mj. CC BY-SA 4.0.