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Court overturns ruling against state on fund raid

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Court of Appeals says the Legislature acted within its authority in 2009 when it took nearly $4.7 million from a special fund for injured workers in order to help keep the state in the black during a budget crisis.

A three-judge panel's ruling Friday says the money taken from a special fund of Arizona's worker's compensation system belonged to the public and is subject to legislative appropriation.

That overturns a trial judge's 2010 ruling that the money transferred into the state general fund was private money held in trust by the state.

Several business groups supported the Industrial Commission's lawsuit that involved money paid by insurance companies and self-insured employers.

Intended uses included paying for vocational rehabilitation of injured workers and paying claims against insolvent insurers.

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