By PHIL KABLER
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A day after teachers and public employee groups rallied at the Capitol to protest Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed 1 percent pay raises, Senate Finance Committee members sweetened the deal, locking in a series of 1 percent pay hikes.
Committee members amended the pay raise bill (Senate Bill 267) to give state employees a second $432 raise in 2019, and to provide teachers with four additional $404 pay hikes in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. It also would provide a second year of $22 a month raises for school service personnel.
“The governor’s plan has always been a 5 percent raise for teachers, spread out over five years,” James Bailey, policy counsel for Justice, told the senators. “The governor’s proposal all along has been 5 percent [for teachers] and 2 percent for all others.”
While the funding for the pay increases is built into the administration’s six-year budget forecast, the Finance Committee amendment would lock the raises into law now, instead of requiring separate pay raise bills each year.
During a rally Wednesday, representatives of teachers and state workers called the 1 percent pay increase insignificant, particularly with increasing costs for state-managed PEIA health insurance wiping out the raise.
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