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New York workers compensation costs rise despite reforms: Report

New York workers compensation costs rise despite reforms: Report

LATHAM, N.Y.—Workers compensation costs for New York municipalities have increased despite reforms adopted in 2007 that were expected to reduce costs, a report released Tuesday states.

Meanwhile, a recently passed 2% cap on property taxes significantly restricts the municipalities' ability to raise revenue to meet the cost increases, according to the report from the Public Employer Risk Management Assn. Inc.'s Workers' Compensation Policy Institute.

"The issue is complicated by the fact that the state is restricting local government revenue and then imposing regulations that drive up workers compensation premiums," Stephen Altieri, the Workers' Compensation Policy Institute's board chairman, said in a statement. "This situation is not sustainable in the long term."

The report is based on survey responses from more than 150 towns, villages, cities, fire districts, libraries, public authorities and schools.

More than half of the respondents said that their workers comp costs comprise a significant portion of their operating budget, and 78% said their workers compensation costs have increased since 2007, when New York State passed the Workers Compensation Reform Act.

For example, state surcharges, which also were supposed to be eased by the reform, continue to rise and were up 20.2% last year.

The survey also revealed that 38% of respondents felt workers comp costs threaten their ability to deliver services taxpayers expect.

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