ABC Board Endorses I-1082ABC Day at the Races Raises Over $2,700
The ABC Board of Directors has voted to endorse Initiative 1082.
Initiative 1082 would create a private option in Washington’s workers’ compensation program. It’s called a “three way” option, meaning companies can purchase industrial insurance from the Department of Labor and Industries, a private insurer, or they can self insure if they are large enough.
The ABC Western Washington chapter has joined other associations and organizations supporting the initiative, such as ABC’s Inland Pacific Chapter, Association of Washington Business, the Building Industry Association of Washington, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Washington Farm Bureau, various chambers of commerce and others.
"Washington's current workers’ compensation system is failing," remarked ABC Chair Les Sargeant of United Systems Mechanical, LLC. "Allowing private insurers to compete with the Department of L&I for coverage is a good first step in reforming our industrial insurance system."
Washington State is one of only four states with a government monopoly that forbids private competition for industrial insurance coverage. While workers’ comp taxes are falling around the country, Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries increased the workers’ comp tax by 7.6 percent this year. By comparison, Oregon has not increased rates in 20 years – and employers there are actually experiencing rate decreases in 2010.
The average injured worker in Washington with a time loss claim misses 270 days of work – more than twice the national average. Oregon’s average time loss rate is about 70 days. In addition, Washington has the highest pension rate in the nation. More than 50 percent of injured workers are likely to receive pension from L&I if they’ve been off work more than two years. Pension rates in our state have increased more than 300% since 1996.
Five years ago, the West Virginia legislature passed a bill to transition their government-run workers’ compensation system into a competitive market. This resulted in claim protests falling 68 percent, overall premiums dropped 30 percent (or $150 million), and more than 90 percent of all claims are ruled upon within 30 days.
The goal of workers’ compensation should be to assist injured workers in the best way possible while maintaining a competitive business environment. Allowing private insurers to compete for industrial insurance brings us one step closer to that goal. The Yes on I-1082 coalition is busy collecting the 200,000 plus signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot. If you are willing to collect 20 signatures, ABC can mail a petition directly to your office. If you have questions about Initiative 1082, or if you would like a petition, please contact Aran Buchan at (800) 640-7789.
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On Friday, May 14th ABC members and staff made the trip to Emerald Downs in Auburn for the third annual PAC fundraiser: ABC Day at the Races!
This popular event raised over $2,700! These funds go straight to ABC’s state political action fund, which funds candidates in Washington State that share ABC’s pro-business and open shop philosophy. There were 31 attendees – a new record for this event!
Synergy Construction, Inc. was the event sponsor, and as a benefit of the sponsorship, the second race will go down in the record books as the ABC/Synergy Construction Purse. Bouncin’ Boomer, a longshot ridden by jockey Robert Burney, came out on top in a close, six furlong race.
The horses weren’t the only winners that evening. ABC member Pam Stewart had a winning exacta that paid out over $500. Not to be outdone, her son Justin Stewart also hit an exacta that paid out over $800!
All members who attended were treated to admission to the Triple Crown Suite, the finest accommodations Emerald Downs has to offer. Also included was free valet parking, a program, dinner, drink tickets and other benefits. Even if you had never been to the race track before, an Emerald Downs handicapper visited members to explain how to bet and made a few recommendations.
ABC would like to thank Synergy Construction, Inc. for being the main event sponsor, as well as CHG Building Systems, Inc. for sponsoring dinner and drink tickets for this event.
The next ABC government affairs event will be the ABC member dinner meeting on June 23rd. The topic is the political outlook at both the local and national levels. The guest speaker is Jim Elmer of James W. Elmer Construction Co. of Spokane. Jim is the current chair of ABC’s National Board of Directors. Also speaking is ABC state lobbyist Cliff Webster, Carney Badley Spellman, P.S., who will discuss the upcoming election. Retro checks, STEP awards and the 2010-11 ABC Member Directories will be distributed, as well as the 2010 ABC Voting Record. To register for this event, please contact Amy Gegoux at (425) 646-8000 or (800) 640-7789.
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