When the city of Cambridge issues paychecks to its public employees, nearly two dozen workers find a federal tax on their income that their colleagues don’t have to pay.
Like many people, these 22 school and city workers chose to put their spouses on their employer-provided health insurance. Because they’re in a homosexual relationship, the value of that health coverage is considered taxable income by the federal government.
But starting this month, Cambridge will become what is believed to be the first municipality in the country to pay its public employees a stipend in an attempt to defray the cost of the federal tax on health benefits for their same-sex spouses.
The city employees hit by the extra tax pay an additional $1,500 to $3,000 in taxes a year and officials estimate the stipends would cost the city an additional $33,000.
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“This is ultimately a fairness issue. Two people who do the exact same job should be paid exactly the same for what they are doing at work,” said Leland Cheung, a Cambridge City Councilor who pushed for a proposal with fellow councilor E. Denise Simmons, who is openly gay.
And if you’re an unmarried worker and you add a dependent to your health insurance, will Cambridge be paying the extra tax? Don’t be silly. This isn’t really about equal pay for equal work. This was merely a publicity stunt by the city of Cambridge to signal what side of the politically-correct divide they are on.
C’mon, Cambridge, your gay-friendly bona fides weren’t in question. You could have just sent out a “Down with DOMA!” press release and saved your taxpayers the extra $33,000. Now some irate unmarried worker is going to call your fairness bluff and make you look like fools.