Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Big Night At Rules Committee

The City-County Council Rules Committee will be taking up some big issues tonight, including partner benefits for City/County employees, and an ordinance banning blackballing of hotel workers who preveiusly worked for a temp agency. 

While most people attending will be interested in one of those two, I do want to make mention of an additional proposal that,if passed, would seek a half million loan from the state and then increase your taxes in 2013 to pay it back.  Hmmm...
Prop 168 does not say what purpose the half million would serve, just that it would be deposited in the City's Cumulative Capital Development Fund.  According to the budget for 2012, this fund was estimated to have over $3.7 million fund balance at the end of this year.  They used this fund to handle some of the property tax circuit breaker credits, eating into the over $8.8 million beginning balance. (see p 82 and 33 of the pdf) So why they need to feed this fund with a loan and add to our taxes next year is not clear.

Prop 179, sponsored by Councillor Brian Mahern, would establish a new requirement for a hotel to qualify for its annual operating license from the City.  No hotel would be able to enter into a services contract if that contract contained a stipulation that the hotel could not employ a person who had previously worked for the services agency.  This practice traps people in the employ of these temporary agencies and their attendant low wages with no benefits.  The hotels were quite happy to hide behind the skirts of the maids and other hotel workers in petitioning for more and more taxpayer funds to flow to the ICVA and the CIB - then unceremoniously cut these workers' jobs in favor of these black-hearted outsourcing agreements.
Prop 213, sponsored by Councillors Mansfield, Adamson, Barth, Hickman, Lutz and Hunter, would make various benefits available to City and County government employees who are in domestic partnerships. To qualify, the couple would have to be living together for at least one year and file a Domestic Partnership declaration the Human Resources.  The benefits provided to the partner would be the same as those now afforded to a spouse of an employee - such as health insurance and pension benefits - and family/medical leave would be provided to the employee for situations arising with their partner.  Should the domestic partners cease being a couple, HR would have to be notified immediately.  All benefits provided to a partner would be taxable to the employee.

On Prop 213, all I can say is - about time.  The State refuses to allow same sex partners to marry, stripping these couples of many legal rights married couples take for granted.  The least we can be as a City is progressive enough to provide equal benefits for partners as we provide to spouses.

The agenda for the Rules Committee lists 8 items.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm in the Public Assembly Room.


Anonymous said...

Wanted to give some info on the DP benefits that could save people lots of money. According to IRS rules, it is correct that benefits provided to a domestic partner are taxable. HOWEVER, they are NOT taxable if the domestic partner does not have insurance otherwise. So, if my partner is a City/County employee and I like his insurance better and thus get on his policy, we will be taxed on that. If my partner is a City/County employee and I don't have a job that offers or insurance or I am unemployed and thus unable to get insurance, then the insurance I get through my partner is NOT taxable. It's the one bone that the IRS throws to GLBT couples. This saved my partner and I several thousand dollars in taxes annually over the last few years. Please help spread this information to that those who take advantage of the benefits know that they could save on taxes.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks Anon. That is helpful information.

Of course, when it comes to tax issues, everyone should consult an expert source.

Not to say you do not know what you are talking about, but you are posting anonymously and all.

Anonymous said...

What happened at this meeting?

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone should definitely talk to their tax advisor, but a lot of them might not know about this provision off the top of their heads. Here is an article from Bilerico that talks about it, and most importantly lists the IRS information (link) for more information. http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/how_same-sex_couples_can_save_on_their_taxes.php#more

It has saved us SO much money over the last several years!

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks for that link, Anon 9:09. Its quite helpful.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I'm still reviewing the tapes as I can get the moments, but the votes were to pass Prop 168 out of committee with a do pass recommendation. Votes on both 179 and 213 were postponed and they remain in committee.

Thanks to NaTrina Debow, Council Clerk, for specifics on those votes.