While discussing proposed huge cost increase to state employees and public school employees for their health insurance at ALC this morning, it’s revealed that of states in our region, our employees pay the second most and the state pays the second least. #arleg
— Clarke Tucker (@clarketucker) May 21, 2021
The legislature has shifted control of the board that oversees state and school employee health insurance plans and, as the Democrat-Gazette reported this morning, hired a consultant yesterday to come up with plans to keep the programs solvent.
No new board and no new consultant can avoid the obvious: Either employees or the state must pay more to keep the health insurance plans solvent.
When employees pay more — lots more as has been recommended — it makes meaningless the fairly small pay increases granted by the legislature amidst huge self back-patting by the governor and lawmakers. Sen. Linda Chesterfield noted that yesterday, saying the state was giving to teachers with one hand and taking away with another
Another point not discussed is how much better state employees are treated in health insurance, with much lower rates. Of course, legislators are members of the state public employees’ plan, not the school employee plan.
All that aside, I direct you to a tweet from Sen. Clarke Tucker about yesterday’s meeting. It indicates Arkansas is already chintzy in support of public and school employee insurance. Employees pay more than in other states; the state pays less.
This is a familiar Arkansas government practice. Give short shrift to public services and employees in the name of building surpluses sufficient to allow another tax cut for millionaires. Wait for it this fall.
And here’s the real fix. Just ask Trent Garner, Sarah Sanders, Leslie Rutledge and Tim Griffin:
ELIMINATE THE STATE INCOME TAX!