Under current law, there are individuals who have received multiple PPD awards that, combined, indicate the worker is more than 100 percent disabled. This may sound like an injured worker is more dead than alive, but in reality many have returned to work doing the same job at the same salary — while also getting large workers' comp payments. The proposed reforms simply impose common sense on the system.
House opposition to bond payments led lawmakers to temporarily preserve current income tax rates to allow “pay as you go” spending on Capitol repair. This still leaves other pressing infrastructure needs unaddressed, and the “higher taxes in lieu of bond debt” trade-off may prove less popular than House Republicans expect.
Still, the overall agreement is a good deal for one simple reason: Lawmakers will finally enact major workers' compensation reform. If that's sidelined or watered down, this session will be a failure — no matter what else is accomplished. Workers' comp overhaul has been a pressing need in Oklahoma for years.
Fallin and legislative leaders are to be commended.