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Jul 10, 2011 5:22 PM by Matt Stafford

Mass. city to pay wedded gay workers to offset tax

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The city of Cambridge, Mass., is now paying a stipend to same sex married public employees to defray the cost of a federal tax that city officials call unfair.

The city council has decided to pay quarterly stipends to the 22 public employees who pay federal taxes on the value of the health benefits their same-sex spouse receives from the city. Health benefits for heterosexual spouses aren't taxable.

Same-sex couples must pay the tax because the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign says at least 17 private employers have similar policies, but Cambridge is the first community in the nation to start the practice.

City officials estimate these public employees pay an additional $1,500 to $3,000 a year in taxes. The stipend will cost the city a total of $33,000 annually.

 

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