The minority leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives said Wednesday that legislative action during the last legislative session could have staved off the higher workers compensation insurance rates that Oklahoma employers will soon be facing.
“The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is requesting an 11.5% increase in workers compensation insurance rates. We also know that many employers could be facing an additional workers comp rate increase in the near future to fix the state Guaranty Fund. Employers are facing these rate increases because Gov. Henry and the Democrat leadership stood in the way of reforms that could have offset them,” stated Senate GOP Leader James A. Williamson of Tulsa.
“The cost of doing business is getting higher and higher in Oklahoma. At the end of the last legislative session, the governor said ‘we didn’t have time’ to address the workers compensation issue. I would like to see Gov. Henry explain this to the Kwikset employees and other unemployed workers who are looking for new jobs this summer because of their failure to allow the reform of Oklahoma’s workers compensation system,” said House Republican Leader Todd Hiett, R-Kellyville.
NCCI officials, speaking at the Oklahoma Workers Compensation State Advisory Forum on Wednesday, said the NCCI would amend its workers comp rate increase proposal if meaningful workers comp reform is enacted in Oklahoma that would lower workers comp costs.
“Instead of acting last session the Democrat leadership abandoned the working people of Oklahoma and Governor Henry called for yet another group to study the issue,” Hiett concluded.
“Make no doubt about it. Republicans will continue to make significant workers compensation reform a top priority in the future,” Williamson said.