Reforming government programs, especially when they're as entrenched as Washington's 100-year-old workers' compensation system, is not easy.
But it's possible.
That was one of the messages that Kris Tefft, AWB's general counsel and government affairs director, shared earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Washington Forest Protection Association.
The Legislature proved it this year by adopting significant reform legislation regarding unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, Tefft said during a panel discussion on government reform and streamlining.
The unemployment insurance legislation, approved early in the 2011 regular session, is expected to save employers $360 million.
Workers' compensation reform, passed in dramatic fashion at the end of the first special session, is projected to save $1.1 billion over the next four years.
As positive as that sounds, some employers will still feel the sting of higher workers' comp insurance costs next year. That's because the Department of Labor wants to begin rebuilding depleted reserves.