An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Perception is nine-tenths of the law in politics and that is the problem with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to give a 2 percent pay raise to teachers and a $504 a year, across-the-board raise to other state workers.
Few would deny that even with step increases, the state should give teachers and other public servants a raise. The problem is where the money is coming from.
The raises are part of a $148.7 million increase in state government spending, a 3.4 percent budget increase.
To make up the gap in the “austere” state budget, Tomblin plans to withdraw $83.8 million from the state’s $920 million rainy day fund.
That’s a 9 percent withdrawal.
Rainy day? The public notices no such precipitation. Instead, many West Virginians believe the money is already there; officials are spending it wrong.
Data gathered by the National Education Association, a teacher’s union, supports their contention:
West Virginia spent $12,317 per student in 2010-2011.
- That was 17th in the nation and above the national average of $11,871.
- West Virginia was 49th on per capita income at $31,806 in 2010 or 80 percent of the national average.
- West Virginia was 49th in teacher pay with an average of $44,260 in 2010 or 81 percent of the national average.
A system that is 17th in school spending per student while 49th in pay per teacher indicates a fundamental problem with asset allocation…