By June 12, 2018 Read More →

Near-capacity Culture Center audience closes out 21 West Virginia PEIA Task Force public hearings


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Retired teacher Pat Snead speaks to the crowd Monday about PEIA’s troubles for retirees. The task force heard from the public in the Culture Center Theater. It was the last of 21 planned public hearings.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Kenny Kemp)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Directed by Gov. Jim Justice to find an answer to medical and pharmaceutical costs that are driving up PEIA costs by nearly $50 million a year, the PEIA Task Force closed out a series of 21 public hearings statewide Monday with a final hearing in Charleston.

With a near-capacity audience in the Culture Center Theater, the task force heard some two dozen speakers call for an end to seemingly annual cuts in benefits and/or increases in costs, and to find a dedicated revenue source to cover that annual $50 million shortfall — with many calling for an increase in the severance tax on natural gas.

“West Virginia needs to follow the example of Alaska in how they’ve taxed their natural resources,” John Riddle, a retired school employee from Boone County, told the task force.

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