Three of the state’s leading small business associations called on the legislature today to pass House Bill 2950, not form a task force to study workers’ compensation reform.
“A task force on workers’ compensation would be a waste of time and we would boycott it,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “The governor tried bringing labor and business together last year to see if something could be worked out, and like Igor in Young Frankenstein, labor could not see the hump on its own back. A task force would accomplish nothing, and legislators who vote for SB 6775 should honestly acknowledge they are throwing up their hands and walking away in surrender on this issue.”
Employers are saying enough is enough, said Scott Dilley, public policy analyst for the Washington Farm Bureau.
“We need to fix the system, not study it,” he said. “We need to move reform legislation forward, not have more discussions and analysis. We know what the problems are. We already have several studies to refer to.”
During 2008, Washington awarded permanent disability pensions at a rate eight times the national average, said Amy Brackenbury, deputy legislative director for the Building Industry Association of Washington.
“Last year, the state boosted workers’ compensation insurance rates on employers by an average 7.6 percent,” she said. “This year, a state auditor tells us the system will be insolvent in two years if rates are not raised by double digits. Businesses are reaching a point of open revolt.”