Monday, January 16, 2006

Kittle Unhappy With Legislator's Health Insurance For Life Benefit

The Howey Political Report says that outgoing GOP state chairman, Jim Kittle, is disturbed by the "health insurance for life" benefit that lawmakers adopted for themselves a few years ago, which Kittle describes as an "inappropriate perk." "That needs to go back to zero," HPR quotes Kittle as saying.

HPR also reports that the Senate GOP had a series of stormy caucuses last week because of the issue. HPR attributes the recent announcement of Rep. Bob Hoffman (R-Connsersville) that he intends to resign as a lawmaker to House Speaker Brian Bosma's announcement that he intends to end the benefit for House members. HPR adds:

Sources tell HPR that Senate members of both parties are livid at both Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Garton: Bosma for wanting to pull the plug on the program, and Garton for his role in fashioning the luxury perk that even covers ex-spouses.

As to the potential cost of the benefit, HPR notes that Senate President Pro Tem Bob Garton told the Evansville Courier & Press that "he has actuarial data on the potential cost of the program, said to range anywhere from hundreds of millions to $1 billion, but refused to share that information [with the public]."

These lawmakers had better wise up to the fact that the public is not going to accept any explanation for what Kittle accurately calls an "unacceptable perk." A fed up public will be all too willing to bring about many more unplanned retirements.

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