WCIRB, the California rating bureau for Workers Compensation insurance, has called for a nearly 25% increase in California Workers Compensation rates. This would be a nasty coup-de-grace for California employers, who are already stressed to the breaking point by the current economic crisis (which has hit the Golden State particularly hard.) The crisis in California Workers Compensation costs had abated a bit in recent years, after some much-publicized changes in their benefits rules, but things appear to be changing again for the worse.
California can be a tough state to do business in even in good times, but the past year or so has been anything but good times for a lot of employers there. And the state's Workers Compensation system has never been particularly employer-friendly--the State Compensation Insurance Fund, or SCIF (the state fund that competes with private insurers) can be a difficult and demanding agency to deal with, and SCIF writes about half the Workers Compensation coverage in the state. Combine that with high rates and rules that make it more difficult for employers to recover overcharges, and you have a recipe for encouraging employers to set up shop somewhere else if possible.
And now, if WCIRB has its way, the Golden State may be about to become even more tarnished as a place to do business.