Thursday, April 9, 2009

Owens Publishes Editorial Column Critical of Pinnacol Move

Former Gov. Bill Owens is publicly urging the General Assembly to refrain from transferring assets from the state-chartered workers compensation insurer to help close Colorado's budget shortfall.

In an editorial published in this morning's Denver Post, Owens said that the proposal is "stunning in its audacity and brazen in its goal."

Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, has introduced legislation that would amend a 2002 law that protected Pinnacol Assurance's assets from state seizure.

Owens argued that Shaffer's bill would force Pinnacol to raise premiums and lower benefit payments. He also said it backtracks from a bargain made to secure passage of the 2002 legislation, in which Pinnacol agreed the state would not be responsible for its liabilities and the state agreed that Pinnacol's assets would not be subject to transfer to the general fund.

"The legislature shouldn't do it," Owens wrote. "If it does, the governor should veto it."