Keep people working

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We’re about to be raked over the coals, again. Gov. John Baldacci has signed a new law (retroactive as of Jan. 1) stating that the workers’ compensation “opt-out” provision for construction business owners and their families has been eliminated.

Business owners and family members working for those businesses now have to carry workers’ compensation insurance, in addition to the alternative health, life and disability insurance.

This new law could cost business owners thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Businesses will also be required to submit a “predetermination” form to the state. Businesses submitting that form to the state will be acknowledging, accepting and agreeing to pay workers’ compensation insurance companies, that already profit billions of dollars a year, even more billions each year. Most businesses won’t know the overall cost until the end of the year but, keep in mind, this new law is retroactive to Jan. 1. By the end of the year, we will end up owing a workers’ compensation bill that some businesses may not be able to afford.

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That, along with the new health care bill that was just signed, may ultimately put many businesses out of business. It needs to be explained to Baldacci that the state is in a recession because, apparently, he doesn’t realize it. He also needs to be told that Maine needs to keep some people working to pay for all the people who aren’t.

Rhonda and Hollis Curtis, Sabattus

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