workers compensation

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington businesses will get some unexpected tax relief next year – to the tune of $350 million. Governor Chris Gregoire made the announcement Thursday in Olympia.

“There will be no overall increase in workers’ compensation rates in 2012 and an actual reduction in unemployment insurance rates for all rate classes," Gregoire said.

construction workers on site at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

Washington is one of only four states in the nation that offers workers compensation insurance only through a government agency.   That could change this November.  Initiative 1082 would allow private insurers to enter the market.   Backers of the measure say the competition would force rates down on a tax that's been going up steadily in recent years.   Opponents say it's a power grab by the insurance industry that could leave injured workers in a lurch.   KPLU business and labor reporter Bellamy Pailthorp has the story.