The 2022-2023 state budget, enacted last month, allocated $350 million to pay off outstanding loans from Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Security Fund, staving off the potential for additional tax increases on employers. The Fund is financed by the business community and administered by the state Insurance Department. It is used to pay workers compensation medical and wage-loss benefits in the event an insurance carrier becomes insolvent.
The Fund has had a generally healthy balance sheet in recent years, which has prompted the General Assembly on multiple occasions to authorize loans from the Fund to help balance the state budget – specifically $165 million in 2017 and $185 million in 2020. An additional $145 million was transferred from the Fund last year for a grant program to support businesses in the hospitality industry impacted by the pandemic.
The concern for employers is that automatic assessments are triggered on the broader business community if the fund dips below a certain threshold. Accordingly, the PA Chamber has urged the repayment of these loans, pushed back on efforts to convert loans into straight transfers and successfully worked with the legislature to use federal stimulus funds to reimburse the $145 million used for pandemic grants.
With the recent transfer of $350 million the Fund has now been made whole and the PA Chamber applauds lawmakers for helping employers avoid potential cost increases.