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Is the Proposal to Privatize Pinnacol Dead?

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An idea entertained by Governor Bill Ritter to privatize Pinnacol Assurance, the quasi-governmental provider of workers’ compensation insurance for most Colorado businesses, appears to have fallen apart.

State Senate President Brandon Shaffer, a Longmont Democrat, isn’t too keen on the prospect, which would reap millions of dollars for the cash-hungry state budget.

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“The Pinnacol transaction is not something we’re seriously looking at this year,” Shaffer, pictured, tells The Denver Post. “I think it’s a bad deal on a variety of different levels, and I’m not willing to go forward with it.”

A deal for Pinnacol this late in the legislative session would require either Shaffer or House Speaker Terrance Carroll, a Denver Democrat, to allow a lawmaker to submit a tardy bill. While Shaffer won’t permit a late bill, Carroll says, “I think it’s premature to say that anything is off the table, considering the economic environment we find ourselves in.”

The state is facing a $2.2 billion shortfall in the current budget year and another $1.3 billion deficit in the next year, which starts July 1. Earlier this month, a possible plan emerged in which Pinnacol would pay Colorado $200 million to be released as a political subdivision of the state to become a private mutual insurance company (via the Denver Business Journal).

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