Legislation has been filed in both the Missouri House and Senate to address the state’s Second Injury Fund, which provides payments to workers with prior disabilities who are injured on the job. But the fund has been losing money for years.
The Second Injury Fund is managed by State Attorney General Chris Koster. He estimates that the fund is in the red by $160 million, and he blames the 2005 legislature for capping the surcharge businesses pay in to keep the fund afloat. Senator Tom Dempsey (R-St. Peters) disagrees.
“I can make an argument that their poor handling of those cases also contributed to the shortfall,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey says he’s filing a bill in which businesses would pay a higher surcharge now to handle the current backlog of cases, with the goal of lowering the surcharge again years later. Koster, meanwhile, says lawmakers should either take steps to make the fund solvent again or to phase it out altogether.