The Boston Globe
: The town budget in Framingham, Mass. is strained, leading to layoffs and other cuts. "Everyone here seems to agree that a major factor is the rising cost of health care insurance for employees and retirees, which has jumped by $20 million in 10 years." The town picks up 87 percent of the premiums for most public employees and retirees, as negotiated through collective bargaining.
Town officials and "many taxpayers in this town of about 66,000 people [want] public employees to shoulder more of the burden, as has happened in the private sector, and town officials have infuriated unions by trying unilaterally to shift costs to workers. ... A Globe survey of 25 communities earlier this year found that they now devote, on average, 14 percent of their budgets to health care, up from 8 percent a decade ago" In Framingham, it's 17 percent (Murphy, 5/6).