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Astorino Vetoes Legislators' Health Care Legislation
County Executive Robert P. Astorino Thursday vetoed a bill adopted Monday by the Board of Legislators that exempted 25 percent of management employees from contributing to the cost of their health care, saying the legislators’ plan was a “giant step backwards” in the county’s efforts to plug the $166 million deficit in its 2011 budget.
Astorino again called on the legislators to adopt the proposal he sent to them in January, which seeks to require a 15 percent contribution – without exception - from all 416 non-union managerial employees. Astorino sees his plan as a first-step towards getting all county employees to contribute to their health care costs – something that can only be accomplished through the collective bargaining process.
Board Vice Chairman Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) responded to the veto. He says the County Executive is "Not looking at the big picture." He claims that under the Legislature's plan, the County would save $20 million more than if all non-union employees were to pay 15% of their healh care premiums, as Astorino had proposed.
He says the board was assured by financial experts that up to 20 million dollars in additional savings could be realized if the County simply shopped around for lower-cost health care plans for its workers. Legislators would not say if they would attempt an override of the County Executive's veto.
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