Branstad made a big show at today's press conference of loudly announcing that he was paying 20% of his healthcare costs, while "encouraging" other state employees to do the same. (If the boss tells you to do it, it's not mere "encouraging.)
Last we checked, Branstad was still drawing TWO state checks: his salary as governor AND his IPERS benefits from his first Terrace Hill tenure. So I think it's just a tad easier for Terry and Chris to cough up an extra $224 a month than it is for, say, your average social worker or prison guard.
Retiring Democratic Senator Gene Fraise elaborates:
I suppose it made some sense to the Governor when he made this outrageous request, especially considering his own $130,000 salary, $50,000 state pension, free housing and transportation, and a state-funded personal chef.
But the Governor is ignoring the sacrifices that correctional officers, social workers, home health care and child care providers, mental health workers, and many other state workers have made during the national recession. Unlike the Governor, these state workers have experienced furloughs, layoffs, pay freezes, and doing more work for no additional pay.
(For the record: I'm a public employee and union member, and I pay in for my family's health care.)
Branstad's move invites the divisiveness that's plagued Wisconsin for the past year and a half. My parents have voted seven extra times in the past 18 months. You think anyone in Iowa would finish their term if we had recall?