With the City of White Plains facing a potential 23.5 percent tax hike, you might expect bold action to curb health care costs. Instead city politicians took a timid approach likely to produce small savings this year.

Currently, city employees contribute nothing for their health insurance benefits. For unionized employees, the benefit is protected by collective bargaining agreements. That is not the case for nonunion employees.

So Adam Bradley, the new mayor, and the Common Council could require all nonunion employees to pay 15 percent of their health insurance. Instead, the council this week voted to impose contributions only on employees hired after April 1 (here).

It’s hard to imagine how that change will put a noticeable dent in the city’s budget gap. Why not require all nonunion employees to contribute to their health benefits,the Journal News asked Bradley (here).

Bradley told the Editorial Board he would lose “some very good commissioners.” In this economy? With so many solid replacements waiting in the wings? We wouldn’t be so worried about that–not when a 23.5 percent tax hike is being floated. The mayor and council should have enacted a “contribution” plan that reflects the “real world” state of public and private employment, as well as the distress that taxpayers face.

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

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