Workers Comp Zone


There’s word coming out of Sacramento that California’s longest budget impasse is resolved with a budget deal among the Big 5.

If the deal can pass muster with both houses of the legislature, that will be good news for some workers’ comp claimants. This week Susan Gard of the DWC noted that California was quickly running out of money to pay Subsequent Injuries Fund claims and benefits to workers whose employers were uninsured.

In the next few days we’ll be hearing from the California Supreme Court on the legality of furloughs. That ruling will be of great interest to staff at the WCAB and the DWC.

Meanwhile, back to the budget deal. Details are currently sketchy, but one thing that has leaked out is that the plan includes sale of 11 state buildings.

The plan projects that the sale of state office buildings will bring in around $1.4 billion.

You’ll remember a past budget deal that included funds from a projected sale of part of the State Compensation Insurance Fund. That sale was dead on arrival. Most observers looked at the SCIF sale as a cynical gimmick that would have been difficult to pull off and frankly, harmful to the California workers’ comp insurance market.

So will the Schwarzenegger administration (or Brown or Whitman) actually be able to unload a group of major state office buildings?

I’ve yet to see a copy of the actual list, but according to a piece by Wyatt Buchanan in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, those 11 include two at San Francisco’s Civic Center. One of those buildings houses the district office of the WCAB as well as the statewide Workers Compensation Appeals Board, the First District Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.

Presumably the sale of 11 buildings would include the sites of a number of other WCAB district offices.

Whether this turns out to be penny-wise and pound foolish, particularly in a time of depressed commercial real estate, is a big question.

But passengers on a sinking ship will jump on anything that appears to be floating.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments