When the House and Senate crafted a fair and reasonable compromise on municipal health insurance reform that was approved as part of the FY12 budget and sent to the Governor, we thought that this issue had been addressed in a very responsible way. So, we are concerned that the Governor has not embraced the compromise and MBAE has joined a coalition urging him to do so.
As we have pointed out in past posts and in testimony on this issue, municipal health insurance reform has become the ultimate education issue. MBAE’s report on the foundation budget showed that funds intended for kids in the classroom are being diverted by cash-strapped cities and towns to cover health insurance premiums. The proposal on the Governor’s desk does not put municipal employees at risk – it provides the same care and benefits that state employees receive. We applaud the work done by the House and Senate to craft a solution to this perennial concern and urge the Governor to sign it!
The Boston Globe has weighed in on this issue, taking the same position as the Coalition statement below:
In January of this year, Governor Patrick announced his plan to address the untenable increases in municipal health care costs, which would require all cities and towns to either join the GIC or institute a program of equivalent value and cost by the start of fiscal year 2012.
Last week, the Legislature sent the Governor a municipal health reform plan that provides a local option for large and immediate savings to fiscally strapped cities and towns. Municipal employees will continue to receive excellent health care, which at a minimum will be the same that state workers receive, and they will retain greater bargaining power than afforded state employees. The Legislature’s plan will achieve real savings within the next fiscal year, while preserving generous benefits for retirees and employees and ensuring labor a meaningful seat at the table.
We urge the Governor to sign this reform into law without amendments, and meet his commitment to provide cities and towns with the tools they need to save jobs, control costs, and deliver vital public services, while preserving labor’s significant role in the process.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts,
The Boston Foundation,
Boston Municipal Research Bureau,
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce,
Massachusetts Business Roundtable,
Massachusetts High Tech Council,
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation,
Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and
Stand for Children