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Gov. Walker budget: Smoking surcharge for state workers


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - If the governor has his way, state workers who smoke would pay an extra $50 a month for their health insurance, as part of an increase in employee wellness programs.

Under Scott Walker’s plan, the workers would have to sign affidavits declaring that they don’t smoke, in order to avoid the $600 a year surcharge.

WisPolitics.Com uncovered the proposal, which is hidden in the two-year state budget that Walker gave to legislators a week ago.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the state’s Group Insurance Board would work out the details of the smokers’ surcharge if lawmakers approve it. It’s slated to begin in 2014, as part of a Walker proposal to expand the current wellness program for state employees.

Marty Beil, who heads the state government’s largest employee union, tells WisPolitics that he’s trying to get answers on how the surcharge would be enforced. He wonders if the administration will set up a, “smoke police” and fire those who smoke while they’re off the time clock.

Beil also wants to know what the penalties would be for not being truthful in signing the proposed affidavits.