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AWB Statement on Workers’ Compensation Rate Increase

Average 2 percent hike is nearly double what’s required
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business, Washington state’s largest business organization representing small, medium and large employers, issued the following statement from President Kris Johnson regarding the Department of Labor & Industries’ announcement of the 2016 workers’ compensation rate increase:

The announcement of yet another workers’ compensation tax increase — a $29 million impact on employers, or nearly double what is needed to keep the fund strong —is another blow to employers and employees around the state that are not enjoying the same economic recovery as those in the Puget Sound region.
“And, this rate hike comes on the heels of Oregon again proposing to reduce the cost of workers’ compensation by 5 percent, not to mention the heightened talk of new and higher taxes on employers in the 2016 legislative session. AWB continues to advocate for cost-saving reforms in the workers’ comp system as a way to stabilize rates and allow for statewide shared prosperity.
“As our state’s economic recovery is stalled or moving ahead slowly in the majority of counties, agencies should be mindful that increasing costs for employers has negative impacts on job creation, particularly in rural areas where job growth is critically needed to lift up families, local governments and school districts that rely on a strong tax base.”
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,900 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10.