Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus said today County Legislature Chairman Roger Higgins has abused his power as Chairman to kill new legislation that would have prevented his double dipping and collection of two taxpayer paid health insurance medical coverage policies. Last week, the County Executive called for this new county policy to be adopted immediately but Higgins refused to allow the legislation on the meeting agenda of the County Legislature.
Chairman Higgins currently collects two taxpayer paid health insurance policies, one paid for by Dutchess County government property taxpayers and the other paid for by the Wappinger Central School District property taxpayers. Over Mr. Higgins’ almost two decades as a legislator, his abuse of a loophole in the system has cost taxpayers an estimated extra quarter million dollars paying these extra annual premiums, just so he could selfishly double his own medical coverage.
“Obviously County Legislature Chairman Roger Higgins refused to allow the legislation on the agenda so he could continue to collect two health insurance coverages,” County Executive Steinhaus said today. “It is indefensible Higgins makes the same struggling homeowner in his district pay TWICE for his health insurance at an annual property taxpayer cost of $30,000, when some of his district residents may have little or no coverage themselves.”
Steinhaus continued, “Higgins stonewalled legislators from introducing legislation needed to close the loophole to save property taxpayers the duplicate cost of his $17,000 policy premium in 2010.”
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Roger Higgins needs to stop stiffing taxpayers as he collects as many taxpayer dollars as he can for health coverage. Higgins behavior and abuse of the taxpayer certainly doesn’t sound like the reform local Democrats promised.”
“Chairman Higgins has been quoted in news stories saying he’s concerned about saving the taxpayer money, but if that were true he would not have stopped this legislation from getting on the legislative agenda. In fact, Higgins should have done the right thing and voluntarily stopped his second health insurance policy with the County, immediately saving county property taxpayers $17,000.”