Workers rally against L&I’s job-killing 40 percent tax increase
posted in BIAW Newsletter
Olympia, WA - Over three hundred business owners and workers from
around Washington State
attended BIAW’s “No Rate Increase Without Reform” rally at the state
Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) headquarters in Tumwater
Organized by BIAW and a broad coalition of business associations,
the Washington Contract Loggers Association and National Federation
Independent Business, the rally protested L&I’s job-killing 40
increase in workers’ comp rates for 2003.
The rally was held before the public hearing scheduled on the rate
and featured remarks by Senator Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) and Representative
Jim Clements (R-Selah). Both Sheldon and Clements blasted L&I
Director Gary Moore for the proposed 40 percent tax increase.
Television stations Q13 and KOMO News 4 were on hand to cover the
interviewed BIAW members on the tax increase.
The proposed increase comes during an economic recession that has
in Washington State facing a budget shortfall of more than $2 billion
the nation’s highest unemployment rate.
“Businesses cannot shoulder the additional burden of a 40 percent
increase when the state’s economy is in such a perilous condition,”
BIAW Treasurer and Mason County homebuilder Gary Cronce. “Washington’s
workers’ compensation system is collapsing, and merely pouring more
into the system won’t help,” said Cronce.
“What will help is reforming the system—implementing better ways
increased efficiency and cost cutting measures,” said Cronce. “For
BIAW has recently obtained a copy of a memo sent by Director Moore
L&I claims managers to pay workers’ comp benefits to illegal aliens,’”
added. “This is in direct violation of both state and federal law.”
The proposed rates don’t just affect employers. Both employers and
pay the workers’ compensation premiums for this “industrial insurance.”
the $371 million generated by the tax increase, employers will pay
million while workers pick up the rest of the $124 million tab.
Construction employers and workers will be among the hardest hit
proposed rates. Framing contractors will pay $1,200 more each year
employee while workers will fork over an extra $469 out of their paychecks.
These increased taxes will be passed along to homebuyers, making
even less affordable. As a direct result of this tax hike, homebuyers
Washington will face an estimated $2,000 increase in the price of
new home in 2003.
“This is significant given that every $1,000 increase in the price
of a home
squeezes 20,000 families out of the housing market,” said Cronce.
families, senior citizens and low to middle income working families
ones hurt the most by these soaring home prices,” he said.
BIAW discovers L&I pays benefits to illegal aliens
Last month BIAW filed a public records request with the state Department
Labor & Industries (L&I) to determine whether L&I has
a policy of awarding
workers’ compensation claims and benefits to illegal aliens. The BIAW
request also sought studies and reports that L&I may have on the
claims paid to illegals and the total amount paid on those claims.
U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National
Labor Relations Board, affirmed illegal immigrants are not eligible
workers’ compensation benefits.
L&I subsequently disclosed five documents. One of the documents
policy statement by L&I Director Gary Moore in which he instructs
department to provide injured workers with workers’ comp benefits
regard to immigration status.” Moore’s statement was dated shortly
the U.S. Supreme Court decision and, as an unpublished policy, violates
state and federal law.
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