American Association of State Compensation insurance Fund
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member fund.

CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: (602) 631-2000
Address: 3030 North Third Street
Phoenix, AZ   85012

State Compensation Insurance Fund
Address: 333 Bush Street
Suite 800
San Francisco, CA   94104

Pinnacol Assurance
Phone: (303) 361-4000
Address: 7501 East Lowry Boulevard
Suite 800
Denver, CO   80230-7006

Hawaii Employers' Mutual Insurance Co. Inc.
Phone: (808) 524-3642
Address: 1100 Alakea Street
Suite 1400
Honolulu, HI   96813

Idaho State Insurance Fund
Phone: (208) 332-2100
Address: 1215 West State Street
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID   83720-0044

Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance
Phone: (859) 425-7800
Address: 250 West Main Street Suite 900
P.O. Box 83720
Lexington, KY   40507-1724

Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation
Phone: (225) 924-7788
Address: 2237 South Acadian Thruway
P.O. Box 83720
Baton Rouge, LA   70808

Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC)
Phone: (207) 791-3300
Address: 261 Commercial Street
P.O. Box 11409
Portland, ME   04104

Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company
Phone: (410) 494-2000
Address: 8722 Loch Raven Boulevard
P.O. Box 11409
Towson, MD   21286-2235

SFM Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: (952) 838-4200
Address: 3500 American Boulevard West Suite 700
P.O. Box 11409
Bloomington, MN   55431-4434

Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance
Phone: (800) 442-0590
Address: 101 N Keene St
P.O. Box 11409
Columbia, MO   65201

Montana State Fund
Phone: (406) 495-5015
Address: 855 Front Street
P.O. Box 4759
Helena, MT   59604-4759

New Mexico Mutual Group
Phone: (505) 345-7260
Address: 3900 Singer Boulevard NE
P.O. Box 4759
Albuquerque, NM   87109

New York State Insurance Fund
Phone: (212) 312-7001
Address: 199 Church Street
P.O. Box 4759
New York, NY   10007

Workforce Safety and Insurance
Phone: (701) 328-3800
Address: 1600 East Century Avenue Suite 1
P.O. Box 4759
Bismarck, ND   58506-5585

Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation
Phone: (800) 644-6292
Address: 30 West Spring Street
P.O. Box 4759
Columbus, OH   43215-2256

CompSource Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: (405) 232-7663
Address: 1901 North Walnut Ave.
P.O. Box 53505
Oklahoma City, OK   73152-3505

State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF)
Phone: (503) 373-8000
Address: 400 High Street SE
P.O. Box 53505
Salem, OR   97312-1000

Pennsylvania State Workers Insurance Fund
Phone: (570) 963-4635
Address: 100 Lackawanna Avenue
P.O. Box 5100
Scranton, PA   18505-5100

Beacon Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: (401) 825-2667
Address: One Beacon Centre
P.O. Box 5100
Warwick, RI   02886-1378

South Carolina State Accident Fund
Phone: (803) 896-5800
Address: P.O. Box 102100
P.O. Box 5100
Columbia, SC   29221-5000

Texas Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: (800) 859-5995
Address: 6210 East Highway 290
P.O. Box 5100
Austin, TX   78723-1098

Workers Compensation Fund
Phone: (800) 446-2667
Address: 100 West Towne Ridge Parkway
P.O. Box 2227
Sandy, UT   84070

Washington Department of Labor and Industries
Phone: (360) 902-5800
Address: P.O. Box 44001
P.O. Box 2227
Olympia, WA   98504-4001

Wyoming Division of Workers Safety & Compensation
Phone: (307) 777-7159
Address: Cheyenne Business Center
1510 East Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY   82002

Workers Compensation Board - Alberta
Phone: (780) 498-3999
Address: 9925-107 Street
P.O. Box 2415
Edmonton, AB   T5J 2S5

Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia (WORKSAFEBC)
Phone: (604) 273-2266
Address: P.O. Box 5350 Station Terminal
P.O. Box 2415
Vancouver, BC   V6B 5L5

Manitoba Workers Compensation Board
Phone: (204) 954-4321
Address: 333 Broadway
P.O. Box 2415
Winnipeg, MB   R3C 4W3

Phone: (506) 632-2200
Address: 1 Portland Street
P.O. Box 160
Saint John, NB   E2L 3X9

Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 491-8999
Address: 5668 South Street
P.O. Box 1150
Halifax, NS   B3J 2Y2

Prince Edward Island Workers Compensation Board
Phone: (902) 368-5680
Address: 14 Weymouth Street
P.O. Box 1150
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7L7

Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board
Phone: (306) 787-4370
Address: 200 - 1881 Scarth Street
P.O. Box 1150
Regina, SK   S4P 4L1

Puerto Rico State Insurance Fund Corporation
Phone: (787) 793-5959
Address: G.P.O. Box 365028
P.O. Box 1150
San Juan, PR   00936-5028
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AASCIF Newsletter

Deficit Reduction Returning to Center Stage in Washington

By Jim Gould, Jim Gould Strategies LLC

After an extended absence, deficit reduction appears headed back into the spotlight in Washington.

National debt in perspective

From the end of World War II to 1981—through Korea, Vietnam, and the Great Society, through recessions and prosperity—the federal government steadily reduced the burden of the massive federal borrowing that had financed the war. The burden of the debt declined from more than 100 percent of GDP at the end of the war to about 30 percent of GDP in 1981. Although the nominal debt level rose steadily during those years, the decline in the burden of the debt occurred because the government kept annual budget deficits at a lower percentage of GDP than the growth rate in the economy.

1980s and 1990s—debt buildup, deficit reduction

In the early 1980s, the trend abruptly shifted as the result of a defense buildup, tax cut, and recession. The annual budget deficit soared to 6 percent of GDP in 1983—a figure not seen since the war. The federal debt consequently began to rise sharply as a percentage of GDP.

Bipartisan consternation in Washington followed the rise in the debt burden, and bipartisan efforts to tackle the politically thankless job of reversing the trend ensued. What emerged was a 15-year effort to gradually chip away at the deficit, mostly through bipartisan, ad hoc measures—measures that would close loopholes in the tax code or social programs, adjust the rules for programs, “twist dials” of policy, broaden the tax base, better target programs, and otherwise cut the deficit incrementally without irritating voters with dramatic policy changes. Congress passed such measures in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989. A further major bipartisan package followed in 1990 (when President George H.W. Bush famously broke his no-tax increase pledge). The guiding principle in in all these measures was that lawmakers would do what they could in the specific bill, not letting perfection be the enemy of the good.

In 1993, President Clinton and Congressional Democrats passed a further deficit reduction package of tax increases and spending cuts without the support of Congressional Republicans (in retrospect, proving the political wisdom of sticking to bipartisanship in prior bills). Finally, in 1997 President Clinton and Congressional Republicans negotiated a balanced budget package again consisting of an assortment of miscellaneous revenue increases and spending cuts. The net result of these and the earlier deficit reduction measures, together with the booming dot-com economy of the 1990s, was to transform the massive budget deficits into massive budget surpluses. During the 1990s through 2000, the debt burden as a percentage of GDP declined by about one-third and was on track to stay on that path. Many economists predicted the full retirement of the national debt.

2000s—debt buildup returns

Debt reduction did not last. The tax cuts of the early 2000s together with unfunded wars, a new prescription drug program, and ultimately, the Great Recession conspired to start pushing the debt up again as a percentage of GDP. By the end of the recession, the debt had reached more than 70 percent of GDP, and since then, it has edged up to 80 percent of GDP—an historically unprecedented level for the country at a time of prosperity and relative peace.

If the Washington playbook of the 1980s and 1990s were followed today, Congressional leaders and the White House would now be sitting at a table, seeking to negotiate deficit reduction packages to reduce the debt burden. Instead, however, the government has just moved in the opposite direction, toward fiscal indiscipline, by cutting taxes and increasing spending—in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December and in the bipartisan spending accord this February.

CBO sounds the alarm

In the wake of the tax cut and spending agreement, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has become the skunk at the party by graphically pointing out that the country is headed into dangerous and uncharted fiscal waters. According to CBO:

  • The debt burden is now on track to rise to 100 percent of GDP over the next decade—even assuming a boost in economic growth from the tax cut.
  • If Congress extends the tax cuts for individuals—which are scheduled to expire in 2025—and similarly maintains current spending policies, the debt burden will be on track to rise to 105 percent of GDP.
  • Annual interest on the national debt is on track to more than double over the next decade—to more to than $3 trillion.
  • A larger debt burden will mean reduced national saving and ultimately a lower standard of living in the future.
  • A larger debt burden also will increase the risk of a fiscal emergency if investors become less willing to finance the government’s ballooning annual deficits.

The CBO projections will likely dovetail with expected electoral gains by Democrats this fall to put deficit reduction squarely back on the Washington agenda. As was the case during most of the deficit-reduction period from 1982–1997, both parties might well be in a position next year to block budget-busting proposals of the other party. As a practical matter, enactment of new policies—whether tax programs or spending programs—might well be impossible in Congress unless lawmakers can start putting the deficit and debt on a downward track once again. As one key example, increased infrastructure spending sought by the president appears likely to continue to languish in Congress unless it is coupled with meaningful deficit-reduction measures.

Deficit reduction redux

If Congress and the White House once again take on the task of deficit reduction, the previously successful formula of bipartisan, incremental progress will be the available script. As in the past, neither party will likely want to take ownership of the “spinach” of deficit reduction without the involvement of the other party. Budget experts of both parties acknowledge privately that politically painful adjustments in entitlement programs and tax policy will have to be the main building blocks of deficit reduction; most non-entitlement programs already have shrunk in recent years to make room for the seemingly inexorable increases in entitlement spending. Lawmakers will have to broadly “twist dials” in tax and spending rules to make steady progress.

Of course, strong leadership in Congress and the White House will be the sine qua non of successful deficit reduction. Whether such leadership will materialize is another question entirely.




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