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Business, Labor Leaders Express Concerns Over New State Budget


Business and labor leaders, as well as Ohio’s cities, are very concerned about how some money is being moved around to balance the budget in the face of a billion dollar projected shortfall.  

The budget includes a provision to take up to 2 percent from several different funds, including those set up for the state EPA, the Consumers Counsel, the Industrial Commission and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Chris Ferruso of the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio says that could mean anywhere from $5 million to $11 million could be taken out of the BWC fund, which is money that comes from employers to cover costs for injured workers.

“Some could make the argument that $5-11 million is a rounding error. But the precedent it sets – taking employer money to shore up the budget – can’t happen," Ferruso says.

And Ferruso says this appears to be more a transfer than a loan, because there are no promises the money will be restored to those funds. But Senate leaders say this is in line with other spending cuts. 

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.