Colorado Senate Panel Looks at Workers’ Comp to Fund Higher Ed

April 9, 2009

Colorado lawmakers are looking at a plan to take $500 million from the state-created workers’ compensation insurance company to reverse deep cuts in higher education.

The Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed the plan as one of nearly two dozen proposals to cut funding and transfer dollars recommended by the Joint Budget Committee to balance next year’s budget. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

Pinnacol Assurance, the workers’ compensation insurance company, largely operates independent of the government. It has a surplus of $698 million, about six times the minimum required by the state.

The company says it needs that to ensure it can pay claims and because it can’t rely on the state or a parent company for backup.

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