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Chuck DeVore- Contributor

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County California’s 70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]

Domestic Partner Benefits Will Push More Businesses Out of State
There are lots of Progressive ways to get around Prop 22...
[Chuck DeVore] 9/10/03

It's more than likely that soon-to-be-terminated Governor Davis will be signing a domestic partner benefits bill authored by left-wing Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles. Among the bill's provisions scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2005, is another job-killing, free lunch, feel-good measure: a mandate that businesses that offer health insurance must provide coverage to domestic partners.

Aside from the obvious arguments about this bill being an end-run around Proposition 22's protection of traditional marriage, which its supporters deny (unconvincingly), this bill is further poison for California businesses battered by silly leftist utopian fantasies from Sacramento. How? Higher costs.

Domestic partner benefit supporters cite a recent Field Poll that found that 72 percent of California voters surveyed support expanded rights for same-sex couples. But one wonders what the results would have been had Field asked, "Do you support mandated insurance benefits for same-sex couples if it would mean higher costs for you?" Probably not.

In fact, a recent study of small employers in California found that insurance costs for same-sex couples were over 17 percent higher than for opposite-sex couples. Other studies have shown that extending domestic partner health insurance benefits adds as much as three to five percent to the overall health insurance burden, even if only one to two percent of eligible employees sign up.
About one-third of employers with more than 20,000 employees offer some form of domestic partner health insurance benefits. But, something less than 2 percent of small businesses offer similar benefits. Goldberg's bill will serve as yet another disincentive for small businesses to expand in California or offer any sort of health coverage in the first place.

Interestingly, one of the most strident advocates of domestic partner insurance benefits recently slashed their own benefit package as too expensive. Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force cut its health insurance benefits for domestic partners in half, saying that the costs were "prohibitively expensive." Rather than cut their own salaries or lobbying budget, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force decided to cut the very benefits they and Assemblywoman Goldberg want to force on California businesses, large and small.

These additional costs on California business may pale in comparison to spiking workers' compensation insurance rates, the tripling of the car tax, and Cruz Bustamante's threatened smorgasbord of tax increases, but they serve as yet one more illustration of the mindset of the Democrats in Sacramento - a mindset that views business as controlling a bottomless pool of ill-gotten cash that must be tapped for the benefit of the "disenfranchised."

Two other provisions of Goldberg's bill deserve comment: providing domestic partners access to family student housing at our universities, and giving domestic partners the ability to apply for absentee ballots on a partner's behalf. The bill will certainly impact some families using student housing - one wonders if the change will be enough to displace some young families to a more family-friendly environment. As for absentee ballots, this bill just opens up another avenue for voter fraud, given the higher turnover ("divorce") rate of domestic couples.

Copyright 2003 Chuck DeVore




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