Faced with a $35 million budget shortfall, Dallas County is unlikely to begin offering benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees as part of its 2012 budget, a county spokeswoman said last week.
County Judge Clay Jenkins, who chairs the Commissioners Court, has said he supports offering domestic partner benefits. The Commissioners Court, which has a Democratic majority for the first time in decades, voted earlier this year to add LGBT employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy.
But Dallas County spokeswoman Maria Arita said last week it costs the county an additional $3,552 for every spouse added to an employee’s health insurance. And according to the Dallas Morning News, the county is already proposing to cut $5.6 million in employee health care costs in 2012.
“It really does come down to dollars and cents,” Arita told Instant Tea. “He [Jenkins] likes equality in the workplace in every way for every employee. There’s just no equivocating about that, plain and simple, and if it were possible to offer all benefits to all employees … then he would do that.”
Jenkins is scheduled to discuss the issue further in an interview with Instant Tea on Wednesday.
The city of Dallas has offered DP benefits since 2004, and Fort Worth added them last year.