A state audit predicts a $57 million shortfall next year in the Second Injury Fund, but the basis upon which she makes that prediction concerns the governor.
State Auditor Susan Montee says changes made by the legislature in 2005 will reduce the number of claims filed and the expenditures of the fund, but she says a cap placed on the surcharge businesses pay into the fund has created a short-term shortfall. Montee says the legislative changes rob the fund of the flexibility it needs to generate enough revenue to cover the shortfall.
Yet some Republican lawmakers question the growth of the Second Injury Fund under Attorney General Jay Nixon. Pay-outs from the fund jumped from $20 million in 1994 to $68 million last year. They accuse Montee of covering up for a fellow Democrat.
Governor Blunt says an examination of that growth is missing in the audit. Blunt says the audit should not have focused only on the amount businesses pay into the fund, but the amount of money flowing out of the fund. Blunt says he is concerned about the fund’s solvency and will review the audit more closely before making a decision on how to proceed.
The Second Injury Fund provides benefits to injured workers who have had a previous injury.