New Haven Mayor John DeStefano stopped by the Hartford Wal-Mart Wednesday, but it wasn’t to shop. He stopped across the street from the big-box retailer to promote his universal health care plan and criticize big businesses like Wal-Mart for not offering affordable health insurance to its employees, like Rosa Soto. He said Wal-Mart takes $0.27 out of every dollar earned as a contribution toward its insurance plan that’s offered to employees like Rosa Soto of New Britain.
Soto said she’s lucky enough to be on her husband’s insurance plan, but other Wal-Mart employees are not as lucky. DeStefano said Wal-Mart takes $0.27 cents out of every dollar employees earn as the employees contribution to their health insurance.Soto said one of her co-workers pays more than $700 a month on insurance for his family on the retailer’s insurance plan. In addition, he had to get a second job to pay for it, she said. She said she has been asking the retail giant to treat its employees more fairly, but has for the most part been unsuccessful. DeStefano said state taxpayers supplement the lack of health care benefits offered by corporations like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart: $5.6 million paid by CT taxpayers in 2004, 824 workers on Husky.Stop N Shop: $5.1 million paid by CT taxpayers in 2004, 741 workers on HuskyDunkin Donuts: $3.6 million by CT taxpayers in 2004, 530 workers on HuskyMcDonalds: $3.1 million by CT taxpayers in 2004, 460 workers on Husky.Total cost: Nearly $20 million per year and more than 3,000 workers on Husky.Source: Connecticut Health Policy ProjectThe General Assembly came close to passing a bill to get corporations to contribute a fair share to emnployee health insurance, but the bill failed when the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee effectively tabled it for lack of support, state Rep. Kevin Ryan, D-Oakdale, said Wednesday. “It would have been a good start,” he said. And despite what the pro-business lobby said it wouldn’t have hurt businesses, “it would have leveled the playing field because competitors would have to contribute too,” Ryan said. DeStefano, one of the two Democratic candidates running for governor, said under his universal health care plan large corporations like Wal-Mart, Stop and Shop, and Dunkin Donuts will be rewarded for offering affordable health care to its employees. It’s a choice, “If they provide appropriate health insurance to their employees then they have their corporate income taxes cut in half,” he said. “This election is about choices: Four more years of the same or the willingness to make a new start in this state,” William Henderson, president of the Communications Workers of America, said. He said quality health care has to be looked at as a “God given right.” Click here to read Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy’s, health care plan. Click here to read the New Haven Independent story on Wednesday’s event outside the Stratford Wal-Mart.