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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1607 would amend Section 408.103(a) of the Labor Code concerning the amount of temporary income benefits (TIB) for workers’ compensation. Specifically, workers’ making less than $10 an hour would be included in the formulation that determines the amount of TIBs. Currently the law makes this formulaic determination on workers’ making less than $8.50 an hour.
The workers’ compensation system is bad policy because the way it is constructed prevents workers’ from obtaining fair compensation for their injuries. The reason for this is that employers who enter into the workers’ compensation system have immunity from employee lawsuits over injuries. Moreover, workers are forced into this system, which means the only “benefits” and options they can receive for their injuries are the ones arbitrarily set by the government. Clearly this system does not operate under free market principles.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) uses different formulas to determine the amount of TIBs for injured workers’. One of these formulas bases the determination of TIBs on a workers’ hourly wage of $8.50. SB 901 would increase that threshold to $10 an hour.
Since this program limits the benefits injured workers’ may receive and this legislation would not affect the operations of private entities, we stand neutral on HB 1607.
It is important to reiterate that current regulations do not allow workers’ compensation to operate in the free market; were it allowed to operate in the free market, legislation such as HB 1607 would not be needed because workers would be able to find plans that suit their needs.