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Guest Column from State Representative Andy Thompson: Bureau of Workers' Compensation Rebates Right Move for Ohio Businesses

August 10, 2017
Republican Newsroom

For the third time in four years, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced that it will be refunding more than $1 billion to Ohio’s businesses. As always, I am a staunch supporter of any effort to put more money back into the hands of individuals and our job creators. It is our job as policymakers to enact and encourage measures that will result in the growth and success of Ohio’s economic environment.
But the question is—why and how is the BWC able to return more than $3 billion total to the workplace? Ohio’s employers, both public and private, pay premiums to the agency each year for safety services that work to reduce on-the-job incidents and provide access to care for workers who do get injured while at work.
In recent years, the State Insurance Fund has seen a net positive of more than $9 billion due to a variety of favorable conditions in the state. Safer work places have led to a reduction in claims, investment returns have been better than anticipated, and overall responsible management of the state’s funds have combined to result in a surplus of dollars in the State Insurance Fund.  And so for the third time, the BWC has made the right move in returning some of these funds back to those who paid them in the first place—Ohio's employers.
Money returned to the private sector is likely to go a productive use; it will allow businesses large and small to reinvest in their operations, with the net effect of boosting Ohio’s overall economy. For the 95th House District, private and public employers in Washington, Noble, Belmont, Harrison, and Carroll counties will altogether receive more than $15.5 million back in rebates. These additional resources can go toward health care, capital purchases, or more modest obligations.
I’m proud to support this rebate by the BWC, a responsible return of funds to the entities that keep our state growing and prospering, especially our small businesses. That's a good outcome for southeast Ohio.