Governor Eliot Spitzer announced a new plan to overhaul the state's workers' compensation program. Joined by smiling Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Joseph Bruno, Spitzer called the deal "a remarkable win-win situation for both workers and employers."
The deal will increase weekly benefits for workers' comp, eliminate lifetime payments for "permanent partial disabilities" and allow the state to reform the system as well (like looking for people faking disabilities). About $1 billion in savings for employers is expected, although some are unsure whether the savings will be that big. Still, it's a victory for Spitzer, Silver and Bruno to be smiling together, instead of trading insults.
The Governor worked with the Legislature, the AFL-CIO and the Business Council to broker the deal, and the NY Times has analysis about why Spitzer was able to reform workers' comp while former governor George Pataki was unable to do so during his three terms. Newsday's Larry Levy says there's love back in capitol for "at least one brief, shining moment," with Spitzer's steamroller in "neutral."
Photograph of Silver, Bruno and Spitzer by Mike Groll/AP