ADA - Figures released by Ohio Gov. John Kasich's office show the Hardin County area could see nearly $300,000 returned to the county if his proposed revamping of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation program is approved.

Last week Gov. Kasich released a plan to provide a $1 billion rebate to the more than 210,000 agencies and businesses in Ohio that participate in the Bureau of Workers' Compensation program. He also proposed tripling the funding for worker safety grants and lowering all rates by changing the manner in which premiums are paid. The money is available due to unexpected large balances in the BWC accounts because of investment windfalls. The rebates would be equal to roughly 56 percent of employers' last annual payment and would be returned in the form of a check, not a credit.

On Monday, reports revealed nearly $113 million of those rebates would go directly to public employer taxing districts around the state. In Hardin County alone, those returned funds would total $299,520, spread among 41 separate public entities including the county government, schools, townships and villages. The county government would receive $125,460, while the Ada Village ($7,970) and Ada Exempted Schools ($13,450) would also receive a refund.

Nearby Allen County would both top one million dollars returned under the proposal at $1,110,150 while Marion ($640,690), Hancock ($542,740), Union ($532,460), Logan ($502,510), Auglaize ($458,880) and Wyandot ($321,040) would all also receive rebates under the plan. This would be considered a one-time payback by the BWC.



However, other parts of the proposal would continue on into the future. Kasich also requested tripling the funding for the Safety Grant Program from $5 million to $15 million. The additional monies would be used to support the administration's efforts to promote workplace safety and encourage investment in programs and technology that leads to greater protections for Ohio workers.

The plan also calls on the state legislature to change the way the BWC works. Currently, premium collection is done in arrears, meaning businesses and agencies pay their premiums after-the-fact in subsequent periods. If the plan is approved, the premiums would be made in advance. To help facilitate the move, the plan would lower the premium rates for private companies by two percent and public employers by four percent as well as offering multiple time-payment options. It also calls for an additional $900 million to pay for transition costs, putting the total cost of the proposal at $1.9 billion.

"Our greatest moral purpose is job creation because it strengthens families, strengthens our communities and gives people the chance to reach their full potential," Gov. Kasich said in a release. "Our efforts to create a job-friendly climate are paying off and Ohio has gone from having lost 400,000 jobs to creating more than 115,000 jobs. We can't let up, however, and by continuing to pursue jobs-friendly policies across state government, including at BWC, we can keep getting Ohio back on track."