WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Local officials around the state are blowing the whistle on a proposal before the General Assembly that would expand workers’ compensation benefits for public safety employees, especially fire fighters.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says the proposal would establish what’s called a rebuttable presumption for firefighters who contract a variety of cancers. It would affect both career and volunteer firefighters.
Advocates of the bill say that there is indisputable evidence that links firefighting and cancer, and that the costs to the towns would be minimal.
City and town leaders say it would be another unfunded state mandate.
“The economy is in chaos; the state can’t provide the money on this. Where are we going to find the money?” said Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson. “We’re going to be returning to the taxpayers to dip into the pocket for ever more money where there is medical coverage now.”
The mayors say the science is inconclusive and if a job correlation is established, then the current medical coverage would apply.