Governor DeWine: It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing for Ohio’s Workers

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, the time is always right to do the right thing. In a case where formerly unemployed Ohioans are seeking the reinstatement of pandemic benefits, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has the opportunity to prove he can tell time.

Two years ago, DeWine terminated two Federal programs that would have provided 900 million dollars of enhanced unemployment compensation to workers affected by the pandemic. His callous, politically motivated decision needlessly heaped financial hardship on hundreds of thousands of Ohioans already devastated by COVID.

A lawsuit filed in July, 2021 challenged DeWine’s decision. The governor could have done the right thing then, but instead, over the past 20 months, he and Ohio Attorney General David Yost fought and lost multiple times — first in Common Pleas Court, then in the Tenth District Court of Appeals, and finally in the Ohio Supreme Court. Now the case is back in front of the trial judge who said back in 2021 that he would have ordered the state to accept the benefits but could not because DeWine and Yost had lodged an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court.

How much longer will DeWine and Yost use the judicial system to wage war against the people they were elected to serve? I have no idea. I do, however, have a suggestion. Instead of wasting lots of time and taxpayer dollars plotting their next legal maneuver, they should devote a few hours to reading the thousands of messages posted on the DannLaw Facebook page by Ohioans who have been hurt by DeWine’s steadfast refusal to do the right thing.

Those messages make two things clear. First, his argument that cutting off the payments would discourage people from working was ludicrous. Many of the messages were written by distraught men and women who had never filed for unemployment in their lives and wanted desperately to return to work. They couldn’t because their companies or their jobs had been consumed by COVID. Those messages show how badly the economy was still struggling when DeWine cutoff the supplemental benefits. According to a study released by the Congressional Research Service, in July of 2021 the labor participation rate was below pre-pandemic levels, unemployment was higher, and aggregate employment remained 5.4 million jobs below pre-recession levels. That’s not exactly what anyone would call an environment rich in employment opportunities.

The messages also show that people are still suffering. Consider this: when COVID-19 hit 69% of Americans had $1,000 or less in savings and 45% had none at all. And while unemployment benefits helped millions weather the storm, many families spent what little savings they had but still fell behind on mortgage, auto loan, and credit card payments. They are now awash in debt that could be at least partially paid by the supplemental benefits the state refuses to disperse.

Combine that with high inflation and the end of several other pandemic assistance programs, including increased SNAP benefits, expanded Medicaid eligibility, rental assistance, mortgage forbearance, and universal free lunch programs, and it’s easy to understand why so many people tell us that they are on the brink of financial disaster.

Here is a sample of the heartrending comments I read every day:

This whole situation has made us seriously start talking about moving our family out of the state, because God forbid anything like Covid ever happens again, I can’t trust my state to take care of its people or put citizens above politics. An absolute shame.

I know people are getting more and more frustrated, believe me, my home is the next thing I’ll be losing because $4 an hour serving is just not pulling the money I need to catch up after losing my $20 an hour job because of Covid.

DeWine had no business taking this money away from the unemployed. I was one of them through no choice of my own. The first time in 45 years I ever filed for unemployment benefits. I appreciate all the efforts to get this money back to those that earned it.

Why does he [DeWine]hurt those that are truly in need?? What kind of man does that to people?? Normal functioning people do NOT go around destroying & hurting others I just need a little help. Not a handout. I don’t understand people who have so much and are in power & can make a positive difference in other lives refuse to do it. 

Ironically, as my firm battles to force DeWine to accept the available Federal funds, a subcommittee created by the General Assembly has been charged with ensuring that the funds remaining from $26 billion of Federal pandemic relief funding — money the state gladly pocketed — is used, as subcommittee co-chair Republican Jamie Callendar put it, in ways “consistent with the legislature’s will.” Anyone who knows anything about the GOP-dominated House and Senate knows that means the $7 billion left of those funds will be headed into the pockets of big business while Ohio working families face financial devastation.

Dr. King famously observed that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” With the stroke of a pen, Governor DeWine can bend that arc and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The choice is, as it always has been, his.

Marc Dann

Marc Dann served as Attorney General of the State of Ohio and now leads DannLaw, which specializes in protecting consumers from various forms of predatory financing. He is also a founding partner of Advocate Attorneys.

This entry was posted in Contributors, Issues, Marc Dann, The Working Class and the Economy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Governor DeWine: It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing for Ohio’s Workers

  1. A Schmidt says:

    I will never understand why the pandemic hapornd. I struggle finacially and mental anguish still to this day because of our money being taken too soon. I’m sure I am not the only one. I lost alot of friends and family because of the Pandemic. I’m still traumatized because of everything I am also a domestic abuse survivor and all rhis mental anguish I feel broufht back the nighmares of that time in my life. I went back to work only to have the company not pay me correctly. Then they change some of my information to lie about it. That is what is out there now. Please I am asking and praying that Govenor Dewine allow the backpay funds to be paid to us. Thank you.


  2. Cassandra todd says:

    This. If they just gave the money it could help so many families. Rent, food,gas and so many other things have increased in price and so many families could use that money to get themselves back on track. How is putting money into big businesses that have money going to help. Why don’t you give the money to where it was meant to rightfully go. I know so many people still suffering daily because of covid. Losing work, taking time off due to being sick and or their kids being sick. Do the right thing give it to those that ar3 one paycheck away from being homeless not those with bank accounts larger then any amount of money these families will never have the pleasure of having. Working class families that help the businesses run.


  3. Kristy Brooka says:

    It has been hard . As I feel I’m trying to climb ladder i get knocked back down I’m sure a lot are feeling the same way .


  4. David L Harden says:

    Thank you very much for everything that you were doing my name is David Hardin I’ve been homeless since the wine has took the money I lost my mother and everything I have nothing left all I have is myself it would really help me out if he would just do the right thing and give us the money like you guys said he had no right doing that and I appreciate that everything that Dan law firm is doing I sit here everyday wondering why I had to lose my mother the wine don’t have to go through that he has everything he wanted so I didn’t bother him to take the unemployment away it wasn’t hurting himself seems like all he’s worried about is his self he ain’t worried about anybody in Columbus nobody in Ohio cuz if he was he wouldn’t have never took the unemployment away but he will have his day he will have to speak to God and tell him why he did what he did or put on this Earth to love one another that’s what God wanted everyone to do and help everyone Governor Dewayne haven’t done anything like that I think you really needs to pray to God and ask God to forgive him for everything that he has done and give us the money back cuz it is the right thing to do I appreciate everything that you guys are doing I hope you guys get that money back so I can have a warm place to sleep and some food to eat God bless you and your family thank you again Dan law firm


  5. Gregory Lubianetzki says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice for once we the people will win instead of a power crazed single politician? Hopefully the Judge sticks to what he stated is the right thing to do, and hopefully Dewine will hear the words that he didn’t have the authority alone to stop money that wasn’t doing any harm and so much good for the people struggling, I say we take his money away for a little while and see how he likes being broke and feeling the stress of paying bills. Then he can really feel the way we all did when all of a sudden the money we deserved and owed was taken away by one man who shouldn’t be able to do so. It should be a panel of people that decide, not ever to be one person’s opinion its not fair. Do they have a 1 person jury that decides if someone is guilty or not? No because that is not fair. He wanted to be powerful little man. And should be told he was wrong doing so! We want what we deserve! Go Dann Law and Marc Dann!


  6. vince8151 says:

    I’ll be 72 years old in August. At this very moment I am packing up and loading stuff into my 2001 Chevy van with 239,000 miles so I’ll have a place to live because I can’t afford to live where I am any longer in Medina, OH. It costs over $1100.00 monthly to live here which leaves me with $122 left over monthly. I’ve maxed out all my credit cards paying bills over the past two years. If it wasn’t for the SNAP benefits I wouldn’t be able to eat. I stopped paying utilities so I have about a month to go on that. Before COVID I supplemented my income walking dogs but because of severe arthritis in my neck, shoulder, both hips and pelvis along with carpal tunnel in my left arm that basically renders that arm useless I’m unable to control dogs or walk any distance anymore. My original retirement was lost during the financial crisis in 2008/2009. I lost everything and only have SS now which I took at 62 just so I’d have a few bucks coming in. The $3800.00 the state owes me could be a life saver for me. I don’t need sympathy, I just want what is owed to me.


  7. Jennifer Elkins says:

    Dewine is not for the people of Ohio is only for himself linking his own pockets. He does not and has not cared for us Ohioans ever he is the reason why alot of us lost our homes, cars, got behind because he took away a lifeline ( unemployment benefits) wich he could do the right thing and give us back what we worked for what we had the right to! Late is better then never! DO THE RIGHT THING ! 2 YEARS LATER AND WE ARE STILL SUFFERING FROM THE PANDEMIC! ITS TIME TO SHOW THE PEOPLE THAT YOU DO CARE EVEN IF YOU DONT REINSTATE THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS WE HAVE / HAD A RIGHT TOO!


  8. Erin Murray says:

    I am pleading to you Governor DeWine to do the right thing! PLEASE


  9. Garry Prebynski says:

    Outstanding article. At this point, Mr. Dewine’s ego is keeping nearly a billion dollars out of the Ohio economy which would greatly benefit Ohio companies and citizens. How sad.



    They don’t seem to care about the people as there are so many homeless families yes that means children also I have been struggling ever since and was almost caught up now I have lost one car for transportation and about to lose the only vehicle that we have left and our home that our 3 year old autistic son lives in with us we have just recently applied for benefits for as we didn’t want to do as we believed we could do this with out him living off the state we didn’t ask for the COVID-19 out break when our country should have reacted sooner and we have been juggling all are bill’s but just can’t do it and now my son and us are about to be homeless and he doesn’t deserve this it was not his fault that he was born as the out break started and the money we deserve would save us from losing our home how can anyone sleep at night knowing what they have done to all these families as he’s obviously wrong or we wouldn’t have so many homeless families I wish he could live just one month in all of our shoes without the help we deserve


  11. oklahomafed says:

    Good luck with the lawsuit. You are doing the Lord’s work.


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