The Burbank Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with a neighboring
chamber to discuss ways to nudge legislators to better deal with
skyrocketing workers’ compensation costs.
The Burbank and Glendale chambers are inviting members to
participate in a joint meeting to discuss the issue at 9 a.m. Jan. 8
at the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, 200 W. Magnolia Blvd.
The committee meeting will give chamber members a chance to voice
their concerns and learn more about workers’ compen- sation
legislation. Tom Hagerman of Independent Business Coalition, an
advocacy group for small and medium-sized businesses, will explain
changes he believes are needed to save the workers’ compensation
The goal is to write a letter to local legislators such as state
Sen. Jack Scott (D-Burbank) and Assembly- man Dario Frommer
(D-Burbank) outlining chamber concerns about bills that have passed
or legislation that is pending.
Local businesspeople say their workers’ compensation rates are
skyrocketing between 50% and 100%, leaving them to wonder why other
states such as Arizona have much lower rates.
“The real issue is properly understanding what changes need to be
made and why it’s good to make those changes,” said Ernest Burger, a
Burbank attorney and chairman of the Burbank chamber’s government
Legislators worked this year to bring down costs that businesses
pay for workers’ compensation. But local merchants feel it has not
“They enacted some reforms to alleviate costs, but the problem is
if you raise my workers’ comp rates by 100% and then you pass reforms
that make that rate 90%, I’m sorry, but I’m not helped,” said Susan
Bowers, executive director of the Burbank chamber.
Bowers said that even with some reforms to the system, which
trimmed some costs, the issue is front and center with the business
“Workers’ compensation costs at the chamber were 125% over budget this year,” she said. “Yet the largest risk of injury is maybe a
Burger said the governmental review council meetings happen
monthly. But this time, he and Glendale chamber council chairman Bill
Wiggins decided that instead of a typical meeting, where legislative
representatives answer questions and give bill updates, it was time
to invite Hagerman to talk to members at-large.
“The meeting is for the members to understand what went wrong with
the system and formulate a response to local legislators about what
we think should be done to help solve the current situation,” Burger