CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Gov. Mike DeWine said he is asking the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to approve a $5 billion dividend to provide further assistance to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“This is about keeping businesses open. This is about keeping people employed in Ohio,” Gov. DeWine said during Wednesday’s media briefing, joined by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Bureau of Workers' Compensation Administrator Stephanie McCloud.
If approved, the governor’s request would be the third dividend for Ohio employers covered by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation since March and nearly four-times the amount of the last.
According to Gov. DeWine, the amount businesses could receive in the form of a check range from hundreds to millions of dollars.
Jessica Parkison the Owner of SALT restaurant and bar in Lakewood tells 19 News, “Theoretically I think that’s an awesome thing that they’re finally really stepping up and trying to help out us small businesses. We definitely need it bad. On the other hand it’s very scary because what’s behind that $13,000, and is that in lieu of another shutdown? To help us sustain for a while during a shutdown."
Lt. Gov. Husted said he spoke with leaders of businesses and sectors that would benefit from the dividend. One business owner said the refund would be given back directly to the employees because of what they faced during the pandemic.
The dividend would also help certain employees, like emergency responders, keep a job and avoid layoffs.
After payment, if approved, over $6 billion would still be available to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
The Bureau of Workers' Compensation is expected to meet next week for final approval of the dividend distribution.
The governor’s request on Wednesday, days after he announced $419.5 million in federal funding from the CARES Act program will be distributed to various sectors throughout Ohio to help with the hardships faced during the health crisis.
Those sectors from last week’s announcement includes bars and restaurants, small businesses, and utility assistance.