Republican Leadership Secures Funding for 5% Pay Raises Without Raising Taxes

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | March 06, 2018
Today is the ninth day that teachers and school employees across the state walked out of their schools protecting pay and concern of the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA). And it appears it will be their last.
This morning at 10:00am, the conference committee of three members from both the House of Delegates and State Senate working together to find a solution announced a breakthrough.  The conference committee has been working the last three days on a proposal from the House of Delegates found in House Bill No. 4145.  That legislation originally passed the House by a vote of 98-1.
According to Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, not only will the proposal provide a 5% pay raise for teachers and school employees, the new compromise proposal will provide a 5% pay raise for all state employees effective July 1st.  Blair said that he believes that this proposal is the largest single-year payraise in the history of the state.
The conference committee will now report their recommendation to the full bodies in both the House and the Senate.  The recommendation is expected to pass in both chambers.
Funding for the pay raises was not tied to increased revenue estimates announced by Governor Jim Justice late last week.  Senate leaders said they needed time to investigate how the Governor and his budget team came up with $58 million more in tax revenue for the 2018-19 fiscal year.  According to Blair, the Senate is not comfortable that the $58 million will actually become a reality.
Blair said that the Senate will approve the pay raises based on additional cuts the Senate will make in state agencies.
In addition to the pay raise, the legislature also approved a temporary fix for PEIA.  Last week, Republican leadership in both the House and Senate voted to provide one-time funding to keep premiums from going up or benefits from being reduced for a period of 16 months. Over the next 10 months, a special PEIA Committee will be working with the Governor and the legislature on long term solutions to keeping PEIA affordable for state employees and retirees.

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