Lawton OESC Luncheon

On Friday February 13, OPEA along with Senator Don Barrington and Representative T.W.Shannon met with the OESC employees in Lawton. The topic of conversation was over the agency’s administrative budget. It is well known by the administrative staff of OESC that in 2010 their budget will be at a critical stage. If not attended to the agency will loose 200 of its 700 employees. What most people don’t realize is that most of OESCs budget comes from the Federal Reed Act funds. However the Reed Act Funds have not been distributed since 2002 and a likely hood that they will not be distributed again until 2012 is even more likely. OESC is not asking for state funding but is asking for 6% of the money coming from the Federal Government for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to be diverted. The amount that OESC is asking for will only replace the lost revenue that the Reed Act would perform. Once the Reed Act Funds become available again then the 6% UIF would cease to be taken. The UIF comes directly from the Federal Funding and goes into the UIF. Once it enters the fund it can not be taken back out except to be distributed to the unemployed worker. Therefore OESC is asking for legislation that would tap the Federal Money prior to it going into the UIF. The UIF is estimately holding 850 million dollars in the account. It is estimated that it would take approximately ten years to deplete the fund by unemployed workers receiving benefits. Senator Barrington and Representative Shannon sat quietly as the information was being given by OESC employees. Numerous questions were asked by both the Senator and the Representative after disclosure was made of the issue. Senator Barrington took several hand written notes and discussed the need of attention to this issue. Representative Shannon agreed and noted that under this trying time OESC employees were in need of immediate assistance.
OPEA and OESC want to thank Senator Don Barrington and Representative T.W.Shannon. Taking time out of their busy schedule during session is greatly appreciated.

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