Both SAVE Dade and Equality Florida have thanked the Miami Beach City Commission for passing an ordinance Wednesday that allows reimbursement of federal taxes on health benefits to city employees in domestic partnerships.
Previously, Hallandale Beach, Bay Harbor Islands and West Palm Beach have done the same.
From SAVE Dade:
"SAVE Dade welcomed the passage of a first-of-its-kind ordinance providing for reimbursement of taxes on health benefits to city employees in domestic partnerships. The unanimous vote was hailed as another step forward for a city that in recent years has put itself ahead of the curve when it comes to LGBT issues.
“This ordinance finally puts city employees in domestic partnerships, whether same- or opposite-sex, on a level playing field with couples in legally recognized marriages when it comes to paying taxes on health benefits,” said SAVE Dade Executive Director CJ Ortuño.
Because the federal government determines the tax policy in question, the new city ordinance does not altogether remove the tax liability for municipal employees in domestic partnerships but rather provides for a workaround. The new policy states that taxes on health benefits paid by employees in domestic partnerships will be reimbursed by the city. Effectively, the City of Miami Beach will foot the bill for employees in domestic partnerships suffering under an unequal tax code on the federal level.
“Before this vote, the policy on the books forced city employees in domestic partnerships to pay taxes that those in marriages did not have to pay. In effect it meant that city employees in domestic partnerships lost wages worth upwards of $1,000 every year. The new policy corrects that inequality,” explained Ortuño. “We applaud the City of Miami Beach for taking a bold step in the right direction.”
From Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer:
I have just left the Miami Beach Commission where moments ago Mayor Bower and the commissioners unanimously approved a new Tax Equity Policy for city employees. The new policy is the strongest and most comprehensive of its kind in the U.S., and it ensures that city employees with domestic partners will no longer pay thousands more in taxes for their partner's health insurance than married employees pay.*
Equality Florida has been working closely with Miami Beach for more than a year on this landmark policy, which we believe will become a model for the nation. EQFL staff assisted the Miami Beach LGBT Business Enhancement Committee in bringing the issue forward in the spring of 2012. We have provided ongoing technical support, background research, and economic studies to city staff drafting the policy. And we have participated in every public hearing and workshop on the policy.
A huge thank you to Commissioner Gongora for sponsoring the ordinance and to the Mayor and all of the commissioners for their passionate and unanimous support.Thank you also to city staff who put in long hours in the months leading up to today’s vote to ensure the policy was as strong as it possibly could be.
And finally, thank you to our partners on the Miami Beach LGBT Business Enhancement Committee, the Miami Beach Human Rights Committee, the Williams Institute, HRC, SAVE Dade, the Miami Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Miami Beach LGBT Visitors Center who all contributed to this victory.