Ohio Pays Off Debt, Saves Businesses from Tax Penalties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio has paid off the remaining $271 million on its recession-era debt to the federal government, a move officials say will save employers hundreds of millions in tax penalties.

The debt came from a loan needed to cover benefits to jobless workers and was paid off prior to last week’s deadline to avoid additional interest payments from the state. It also means the state dodged another tax hike on the state’s businesses ahead of a November deadline.

Bruce Madson, assistant director of the state Department of Job and Family Services, says employers will save about $351 million next year. They’ve been paying higher federal unemployment taxes under a mandatory repayment system.

Lawmakers are working to address structural issues to prevent future borrowing.