Senator Michael Doherty’s employee health care reform legislation, Senate Bill 3, is estimated to save taxpayers nearly $1 billion over the next three fiscal years. The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 36 to 0 on Monday, will require state, local and school employees to pay at least 1.5% of their base salaries toward their health benefits.
“Nearly every private sector and federal government employee pays a far larger share of the soaring cost of health care coverage than this bill requires,” Senator Doherty said. “Our state is on the brink bankruptcy in part because we haven’t made the common sense changes to state and local benefit plans that many employers adopted decades ago.”
Doherty urged Assembly leaders to quickly pass all three of the pension reform bills approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Monday.
“Local schools and governments desperately need this nearly $1 billion to prevent cutbacks in services and tax increases over the next three years,” Doherty said. “This bill will prevent some layoffs as local budgets continued to be squeezed mercilessly.”
The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services estimates that Senate Bill 3 will save taxpayers $314 million in the fiscal 2011, which begins July 1; $324 million in fiscal 2012, and $333 million in fiscal 2013. The bill will require future retirees from state and local government employment to pay 1.5% of their pension payments toward health care coverage, but current retirees will not be affected.