Orange County may offer domestic partner stipend for county workers

Comptroller tells Local 6 tax collector's stipend made her consider implementing it

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orange County comptroller is also considering offering county employees in a domestic partnership a stipend to offset higher federal taxes they pay because they can't legally marry.

Martha Haynie, Orange County's Comptroller,says as soon as she heard the Local 6 report about the stipend being offered to the Orange County Tax Collectors employees to offset federal taxes, it grabbed her attention.  

"You know as with some other things from time to time, I'm kind of thinking why didn't I think of this," she said. "I'm aware of the inequities in the tax law, and that it is kind of a hit on same sex couples."

If same-sex couples add an unmarried spouse to their health benefits, the cost the company pays is taxed--meaning the same-sex couples end up paying more than straight couples.

Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph announced his stipend will be between $350 to $1,300 per year to offset the expense. The stipend will cost the tax collector office $10,000 per year.

"The tax code discriminates against them absolutely," Randolph said.

Haynie says she believes it is a step in the right direction and she is looking into doing the same.

"The issue of fairness, which has been so much in the news lately is something that matters to me a lot," she said.

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