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WV Gov. Justice’s budget covers fewer than half of promised pay raises

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice promised a 1 percent pay bump for all state employees, but the budget he proposed to the Legislature funds raises for fewer than half of those employees.

“We’re going to give a 1 percent raise across the board to everyone,” Justice said at his Jan. 10 State of the State address to the Legislature.

However, according to data from the state Budget Office and an interview with its director, Mike McKown, the governor’s proposal only covers raises for roughly 14,720 state employees — those paid out of the state’s general revenue fund and lottery fund. That’s about 41 percent. (The Budget Office data counts full-time positions filled as of Dec. 31.)

For the other roughly 21,535 state employees — who are paid from special revenue funds, federal funds or the state Road Fund — their departments would have to cover the raises on their own.

After reviewing Justice’s proposed budget, several state constitutional officers said they’re on the hook to pay for raises they can’t necessarily afford, ordered from a governor who they argue has no legal standing to dictate what they pay employees.

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