Pennsylvania Auditor General To Anti-Gay Governor: You Are Costing Us Millions

22 May

by J. RUDY FLESHER 

thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

 

Post image for Pennsylvania Auditor General To Anti-Gay Governor: You Are Costing Us Millions Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, has released a statement taking Governor Tom Corbett (R) to task for costing the Commonwealth millions by continuing to defend its unconstitutional ban on marriage equality. Pennsylvania currently holds the dubious distinction of being the last remaining state in the Northeast with no legal recognition of same sex unions, and no statewide civil rights protections or LGBT citizens.

“It is unquestionably unfair to have people pay higher taxes on health benefits, or higher anything for that matter, simply because they are in a legally recognized same-sex marriage from another state,” DePasquale said.

He estimates that under the current law, a legally married same-sex couple living and working in Pennsylvania with a combined income of $100,000, where one partner works for the commonwealth, is taxed on the employer-provided portion of health benefits and annually pays approximately $1,600 more than a heterosexual couple.

“It is not right that simply because they do not meet Pennsylvania’s legal definition of ‘married,’ the same-sex couple is forced to pay more in taxes because of the health care benefits that they receive from their commonwealth-employed partner.

“Now, with the state facing an estimated $1 billion budget shortfall, we cannot afford to pay $300-400 per hour to fight for an unfair law that denies recognition of, and penalizes, legally married same-sex couples,” DePasquale said. “We can’t afford legal bills like this when the administration is looking at making additional budget cuts. We’ve already seen the financial devastation from previous education cuts.”

In the past two years the commonwealth spent more than $10 million on outside law firms and legal counsel for the failed Lottery privatization effort, nearly $1 million more to defend the Voter ID law that was ruled unconstitutional and approximately $5 million wasted on the unnecessary ad campaign.

“Throwing away tens of millions of dollars in legal fees with a $1 billion budget hole looming is bad fiscal policy and bad public policy,” DePasquale said.

“Cutting out the millions of dollars in outside legal expenses won’t solve the budget shortfall, but it would be a step in the right direction.”

Despite his move to stop defending Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional voter ID law, which never went into effect after it was halted by a lawsuit, Corbett remains steadfast in his continued attack on LGBT equality. No matter the results of tomorrow’s primary elections, Corbett, the least popular governor in the nation, will face a pro-equality Democratic challenger in November.

J. Rudy Flesher is a Philadelphia based performing artist, author, and actor, holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, and is an award-winning feminist scholar. Rudy also chairs the Sims4PA PAC and sits on the board of the William Way LGBT Community Center, and is Co-President of The Spruce Foundation. Rudy can also be found on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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