California Republicans are proposing a 10% decrease in funding for all state agencies (see WorkCompCentral story this morning, "Republican Budget Proposal Would Cut DWC Funding"), not discriminating against agencies that derive their funding from sources other than the General Fund.
As you likely are aware, the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) is entirely funded by a tax on workers' compensation policies. This is called "user funding" and DWC became completely independent of the General Fund on 1/01/2004.
In other words, DWC contributes nothing, zero, nada, to the state budget deficit. But if the Republicans have their way DWC's funding will be stripped.
DWC is already under politico budget bulls#@t!.
Funding for DWC activity was increased by 17% for 2010, unemployment was hovering near 12%, claims frequency for the first quarter of 2009 was 14.8% less than the first quarter of 2008 and 30% less than its all-time high in 1991 (statistics by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau).
Yet, during this period DWC's "budget" was restricted, with Division work furloughs, staff cuts, hiring freezes and more.
I asked a senior DWC administrator several months ago why this was occurring. In hushed tones so that we could not be overheard this official admitted that it was politics - that the Division needed to look austere just like the other agencies that suck from the General Fund.
The Republicans claim that across the board cuts are necessary to help the state's economy, yet they fail to understand that cutting programs that help employers move cases through the system, thereby minimizing the impact of the experience rating modifier (there by affecting the actual cost of work comp for the employer), HURTS the economy. By removing funding from the DWC, cases stall, and injured workers don't get back to work and this HURTS the economy.
And my biggest beef - IT'S MY DAMN MONEY!! I'm an employer, I pay into the system, those funds are supposed to be dedicated to the administration of workers' compensation, and the state is telling me, a that it really doesn't care that I employ, that I contribute to the economy, that my money is being diverted.
My message to the state's Republicans: leave DWC alone!
For the record, I'm a registered Republican, and damned ashamed at my party.