September 19, 2014
When first mentioned three months ago, Governor Kenny Guinn's proposal to cut retiree health benefits was met with tepid applause. Now written as Senate Bill 484, it awaits approval from the Senate Finance Committee, and it's also receiving mixed reviews.
Senator Bob Coffin, Las Vegas, says it's "an unsophisticated way to cut costs." He worries that in the long run, it'll make Nevada an undesirable state to work for.
However, Governor Guinn's Chief of Staff, Michael Hillerby, says eliminating the state health care subsidy for retirees is the fiscally responsible thing to do for the future. He says paying for that extra monthly benefit--which can be as much as three hundred and twenty-five dollars a month per retiree--is an unfair burden on taxpayers.
If state employees want to have health care benefits they have two options. One is to lock in a state's healthcare plan under the current rates, and the second one is state help signing up for medicare.
The Senate Finance Committee must do something with this bill by Friday's deadline in order for it to survive the rest of the legislative session.