This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Year after year, Washington’s workers compensation system has lurched closer to financial collapse – even as the payroll taxes that fund it have escalated relentlessly. Year after year, the Legislature has done nothing about it.
This year, though, the state Senate has taken an important step toward controlling those taxes and preserving the system’s solvency. It has passed a bill – supported by Democrats and Republicans alike – that would let injured workers take lump sum settlements and also subsidize businesses willing to return them to work with lighter duties.
What happens to this bill in the state House is a test of whether its Democratic leaders are willing to step up to a crisis in the face of baffling union opposition. So far, they haven’t even given it a hearing.
There’s not much controversy over the subsidy part of the bill. But the lump sum provision, which should not be controversial, appears to be getting turned into a litmus test of loyalty to organized labor.
The fact is, the Senate – which is run by Democrats – went out of its way to make the lump sum option fair to workers.
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