East Baton Rouge, La., city-parish government employees will not see an increase in their health insurance premiums.

The Metro Council on Oct. 14 refused to raise health insurance premiums for city employees. The decision will force the city to pull money from its reserves.

The Advocate reports the city-parish has already lost some $2 million since April because its been paying more for health claims than it has been receiving from employee health contributions.

To offset the problem, the city offered to pay $3.5 million extra for health insurance from its tax pools and asked for city employees to pay 8 percent higher premiums to generate an additional $1.3 million.

Department of Public Works union organizer Alvin Rattle and a couple of employees spoke against the higher premiums, complaining it would eat up their 2 percent pay raise from earlier this year.

The Metro Council could not generate enough votes to increase the premiums, forcing City Administrative Officer William Daniel to say the city will pull the $1.3 million from the health insurance reserves.

"Its fiscally irresponsible," Daniel said. "They have a fiduciary responsibility to run this city in a fiscally responsible manner."

The impact will be felt deeply in the city-parishs budget, Daniel said. Tax money that could have gone toward city services, youth programs and other services will now have to go toward paying health insurance for city employees, he said.

And Daniel is certain the problem will only get worse. The extra financial obligation from the city-parish would grow each year, as health insurance claims mount.