The News Tribune is the latest daily newspaper to call for urgent action on workers' compensation reform in Washington. In this morning's edition, the editorial headline read: "Time to move state workers' comp toward sanity."
The Tribune's editorial came after the Seattle Times, The Spokesman Review, and The Herald, Everett, called for the House to pass ESB 5566, the bipartisan, common sense workers comp reforms which passed the Washington State Senate, 34-15, on March 5.
While unions and trial lawyers are attacking the voluntary settlement proposals which are currently in place and working in 44 other states, calling them radical and bad for workers, the Herald says the legislation is "A not-so-radical solution" at all.
Last week, the Washington Research Council updated its report illustrating the compelling need to reform workers' compensation this year. It's data shows Washington workers' compensation is headed for a financial collapse if lawmakers and Gov. Gregoire do not act on meaningful reforms.
Meanwhile, trial attorneys and unions launched a full-scale assault on the bipartisan bill and those who support it last week. However, The Tribune editorial summed it up best:
"The L&I taxes discourage businesses from moving into and staying the state. By providing an attractive--and, repeat, voluntary--alternative to traditional compensation, fair lump sum payments would provide certainty to businesses and workers alike and help nudge Washington's workers' comp costs closer to what other state pay.....Is that so scary? The House should let its members vote on the measure."
Don C. Brunell, President (DonB@awb.org)