Wyoming: Small business owners have mixed views on proposed comp changes, survey finds
Wyoming small business owners are divided in their views on proposed legislative changes to the state's workers' compensation system. According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, small business owners are mixed on the issue of whether to increase workers' comp benefits for certain recipients.
Each year, the NFIB polls its members on a variety of emerging issues related to their work as entrepreneurs at the state and federal levels. For this year's survey, small business owners were asked about the Legislature's proposals for the state's workers' comp system that would:
- Increase benefits for temporary total disability for lower-wage employees. More than 60 percent of respondents said they were against the measure while 26 percent were in favor and 12 percent were undecided.
- Add a cost-of-living adjustment for permanent total disability. When asked whether the Legislature should add a cost-of-living adjustment for employees who are receiving extended benefits for permanent total disability, 52 percent of small business owners said "no," while 40 percent said "yes," and 8 percent were undecided.
- Increase benefits for surviving spouses. When asked whether lawmakers should increase the benefit paid to the surviving spouse of a worker killed on the job, the "yes" and "no" responses were evenly split at 46 percent each, with 8 percent undecided.
- Increase monthly benefit for surviving children. Children were also looked upon more kindly. Nearly half of the respondents were in favor of the Legislature's proposed increase of the monthly benefit paid to surviving children of a worker killed on the job from $150 per month to $250 per month. Almost 50 percent of small business owners were also in favor of the proposal to increase the maximum age to which the child can receive the benefit from age 21 to age 25, so long as the child is in school.
- Expand coverage for mental injuries. When asked whether the Legislature should provide coverage for mental injuries to workers who have not sustained a physical injury, 80 percent of respondents said "no," while 10 percent voted "yes," and an equal amount were undecided.
Representatives from the NFIB's Wyoming chapter said they will center the group's lobbying positions on responses it received to the questions when the 2009 session of the Wyoming Legislature convenes this month.
January 26, 2009
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