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Koster, Mo. lawmakers, address 2nd Injury Fund woes

Mo. Atty. Gen. Chris Koster (D)
(Mo. Attorney General's office)
Mo. Atty. Gen. Chris Koster (D)

Attorney General Chris Koster (D) is urging Missouri lawmakers to either find a way to make the state’s Second Injury Fund solvent again or to get rid of it entirely.

The fund provides payments to workers who return to the workforce after being injured on the job, then are injured on the job again. The Attorney General’s office manages the fund, and Koster says it’s been losing money ever since lawmakers in 2005 capped the amount of money Missouri businesses have to pay to keep the fund afloat.

“The fund takes in $43 million a year in revenue, has $77 million a year in expenses, has $160 million in unrealized liabilities, and has $9 million dollars in the bank," Koster told theMissouri Chambertoday in Jefferson City.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey(R, St. Charles) disagrees, saying lawmakers are not solely to blame for the fund's woes.

“I can make an argument that (the Attorney General's office's) poor handling of those cases also contributed to the shortfall," Dempsey said.

Dempsey is filing a bill in which businesses would pay a higher surcharge now to handle the current backlog of cases, with the goal of lowering the surcharge again years later.   The worker’s comp bill in Missouri House also contains language designed to reduce costs related to the Second Injury Fund.

Koster is seeking a second term as Attorney General this year.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.