Cato to Workers' Comp Reformers: Shake My 'Fro
FITS has learned that "Ole Yaller Teeth" himself, Rep. Harry Cato, has upped the ante in the brewing fight over Workers' Comp reform.
Apparently, Cato told a group of keenly-interested parties who assembled for a private meeting in the Capital Center today that he's "got fifty Democrats" in the event an amendment is offered attempting to re-insert cost-saving AMA standards into the "Cato-gutted" Workers' Compensation Reform bill.
Oh, Ole Yaller. Goodness gracious.
And what does "I got fifty Democrats" mean, exactly? Are they in your pocket? Are they in your office at the Blatt Building? Perhaps they're hiding out somewhere in your Kim Jong-Il-esque bouffant?
In related news, the powerful Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry committee also refused to identify any of the hair products he used when posing for the above picture.
"Harry's hairy," said one participant at the meeting. "And he's definitely got a wild hair or two on this workers' comp issue."
Seriously folks, implementing AMA standards is a critical component in slowing out-of-control workers' comp premium increases in South Carolina, something that would provide a sound (dare we say, actuarial) basis for limiting excessive payouts that can cripple a state's business climate and ability to compete.
In 2000, South Carolina had the second-lowest workers' comp premiums in the nation. Today, we're creeping into the top half of the nation. Last year workers' comp premiums across the nation dropped by an average of 6%. South Carolina's went up 11%, and that was after a 17% increase the year before.
But seriously, Old Yaller. Aside from the common-sense merits of reinserting AMA standards into the bill, we don't think you're thinking the politics of this one through. The Senate - home of Worker's Comp fat-cats John Land, Gerald Malloy and David Thomas, among others - probably won't even let the reform bill come up for a vote (let alone reinsert language that would actually make it an effective piece of legislation capable of improving our state's business climate).
Knowing that, do you really want it out there that you're lining up with fifty democrats? To say nothing of the fact that some of them could be hiding out in your expansive afro?
Oops - too late.