By Charles Young, WV News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice plans to back a 5% raise for teachers and state employees during the 2024 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature.
Justice, during a press briefing Wednesday, said the pay increase would offset proposed Public Employees Insurance Agency premium increases currently under discussion.
“I am absolutely going to put forward another 5% pay raise,” he said. “It should more than offset any raises in PEIA. We need to do that, and we need to accomplish that. And, without any question, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Justice said he hopes the proposal will “sail right through” the Legislature.
At the end of the day, we want people to not be hurt by these increases,” he said of the higher PEIA premiums. “The increases are really and truly difficult to avoid, but we can offset with pay raises to where we will be putting at least as much money in somebody’s pocket that the increase is going to cost.”
On Monday, the PEIA hosted the first in a series of public meetings scheduled throughout the month to solicit public input on changes under consideration for Fiscal Year 2025.
The proposed changes include a 10.5% premium increase for state fund employees; a 13% premium increase for local government employees, plus an eligible spouse surcharge of approximately $147; and a 10% increase for non-Medicare retirees.