“If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man” -- C.S. Lewis
When Gov. Bruce Rauner introduced his Turnaround Agenda, he pointed to several sad statistics that capture the severity of our current situation. He bemoaned our ranking by Chief Executive Magazine as the 48th worst state for doing business; as the state with the 7th highest workers' compensation costs and the 9th highest unemployment insurance taxes; as the state with the 46th worst lawsuit climate, and our last-place position for job growth compared to neighboring states.
He also noted that Illinois is hemorrhaging people-- with more than 94,000 Illinoisans relocating to greener pastures last year alone.
To get our economy moving and increase job opportunities, Rauner knows that we must improve our state's business climate and make Illinois more competitive.
His proposed legislative package seeks to reform the cost of our workers' compensation system so that it's comparable to other states, to discourage frivolous lawsuits, to make our unemployment insurance program more sensible, and to offset some of the adverse effects of compulsory unionism.
With regard to workers' compensation, Rauner's Agenda observes: “Currently, if the employment is related at all to the injury, no matter how indirectly, the employee’s injury is compensable. If a work injury aggravates a preexisting condition even slightly, the employer is 100-percent liable for the workers’ compensation claim.”
Rauner wants to raise the causation standard from the “any cause” standard to a “major contributing cause” standard, requiring that the accident at work be “more than 50-percent responsible for the injury compared to all other causes.”
Meanwhile, Democratic State Rep. Jay Hoffman recently won House approval for legislation that would make our workers' compensation program even more expensive to maintain. That means worse for businesses-- the ones we’re trying so desperately to lure here so there are more jobs here.
It figures that Hoffman sides with workers’ compensation lawyers and other Hoffman campaign supporters over actual workers. It doesn’t figure that the working people of his district would tolerate such self-serving “leadership."