The California State Senate’s Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education has rejected Governor Jerry Brown’s effort to help the California State University (CSU) contain its employee healthcare costs. The Governor’s proposal would have enabled CSU to negotiate health benefits through collective bargaining.
Current law provides for 100 percent employer-paid coverage of CSU employee healthcare benefits. For most other state employees, the employer pays 80 percent of premium costs and the employee pays a 20 percent share.
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“I am disappointed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle rejected Governor Brown’s common-sense efforts to lower costs at CSU,” said Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands), Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, after the hearing. “The Democrats’ failure to assist the universities in reducing their surging costs will ultimately make things worse for our students.”
Stating that “California taxpayers cannot sustain institutions whose cost growth greatly outpaces the state’s income growth,” Brown proposed authorizing CSU to collectively bargain employee healthcare benefits with its labor unions, but with guaranteed minimum coverage of at least 80 percent – the same benefit enjoyed by most other state employees. Despite testimony by a CSU representative in favor of the Governor’s proposal, the committee voted along party lines to reject it.
“The Governor has said that he wants our universities to lower their operating costs,” Senator Emmerson added. “Republicans will continue to look for ways to assist them in this effort and slowing the growth of their surging health benefit costs would be a good start.”
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