Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

News

July 30, 2012

95 Iowa state workers to pay part of health care

DES MOINES — State records show that 93 state employees have joined Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds in volunteering to pay 20 percent of their health care insurance premiums, The Des Moines Register reported Saturday.

The newspaper said state records showed that none of the state Legislature's 150 members were among those volunteers, most of whom are executive branch department heads and employees within the governor's office. About 20 union-covered state employees also volunteered.

Branstad, a Republican, has called on elected state officials and state employees to share in the cost of paying for health care. Earlier this month, he signed an executive order allowing state employees to voluntarily pay 20 percent of their own health care.

Iowa legislators and most state employees don't share the cost of the insurance premiums.

Branstad has said the initiative could save the state almost $111 million a year. State union leaders have said that not having to pay premiums is the employees' trade-off for the jobs' lower pay.

Branstad and Reynolds announced on July 2 that they would begin paying 20 percent of their premiums starting Aug. 1. A governor's spokesman said then that the payments would total $225 a month for Branstad and $153 a month for Reynolds. However, the Register said Saturday that state records showed Reynolds' monthly cost to be $95.92.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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