West Palm Beach Approves Historic Domestic Partnership Measure
April 29, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) – Domestic partnerships in the City of West Palm Beach are on their way to enjoying an equity that only two other cities in the nation provide.
Monday night, the city approved a measure that would level the playing field between married couples and domestic partnerships. Currently, the federal government requires the domestic partners of city employees to pay taxes on the value of the healthcare they receive from their partner’s city health insurance plan. For most couples, it adds up to over $1,000 that married couples are not required to pay.
The new city ordinance, introduced by West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, would provide funds to domestic partners to compensate them for the federal tax dollars they are forced to pay for health benefits. The funds would effectively eliminate any additional cost for health insurance that a domestic partnership would pay when compared to a married couple. Only two other cities in the United States currently provide this compensation to their employees. They are Cambridge, Massachusetts and Hallandale Beach, Florida.
“This is a question of fairness and equity for those city employees in domestic partnerships,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.
“Once again, the city of West Palm Beach is on the cutting edge of domestic partnership issues,” said Muoio. “By grossing up the salaries of employees insuring their domestic partners, we are putting their families on even footing with those of married employees insuring their opposite-sex spouses.”
The city currently has 16 employees who provide domestic partner coverage to their significant others. By passing the ordinance, the additional cost to the city would be approximately $18,000 per year.
The measure comes up for final approval at the next Commission meeting in two weeks.