CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Finance Committee of the House of Delegates on Wednesday approved a plan to give increased pay raises to teachers, school service personnel and State Police officers.
The committee unanimously passed an amended version of Senate Bill 267, which passed the Senate last Friday.For teachers, the Finance Committee’s version of the plan would provide a 2-percent pay increase for the coming fiscal year, with 1-percent increases for each of the following three years. This is a modified version of Gov. Jim Justice’s original plan of 1-percent raises for each of the next five years for teachers.
For State Police and school service personnel, the new version of the bill would provide a 2-percent increase in the coming year, with a 1-percent increase next year. The original version of the bill included just 1-percent raises for this year and the next.
The Finance Committee’s version of the plan would provide a 2-percent pay increase for the coming fiscal year, with 1-percent increases for each of the following three years. This is a modified version of Gov. Jim Justice’s original plan of 1-percent raises for each of the next five years.
“Members of the House of Delegates want to provide as much of a pay increase to our teachers, State Police, service personnel and public employees as our budget will allow,” said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. “We believe we can afford a greater salary increase in the coming year.
“In combination with the PEIA changes we have already secured, we believe this new pay raise plan will provide a greater benefit to our public employees, while also ensuring stability in our budget,” Speaker Armstead said.
House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said the committee tried to balance the desire to give the best pay possible to public employees, while also being sure not to put too much pressure on future budgets.
“We’re beginning to turn the corner with our state budget picture, but we’re by no means out of the woods yet,” Chairman Nelson said. “We believe the the 2-1-1-1 and 2-1 plan is a responsible path forward. Should our budget picture continue to improve, we’ll be in a better position to consider future increases. But for right now we think this is a sensible approach to boosting employees’ pay.”
The pay raise plan in the amended version of Senate Bill 267 is separate from a plan to give raises to corrections officers and personnel at the state’s jails and prisons. The Finance Committee on Tuesday approved House Bill 4142, which would provide a $6,000 raise to corrections personnel over the next three years.
Chairman Nelson also said lawmakers are continuing to work toward finding improvements to the state Public Employees Insurance Agency health plans. He said funding for PEIA will be addressed when the Legislature passes the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.Funding for pay raises for other state employees whose salary schedules are not listed in state code will also be addressed in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bill.
Senate Bill 267 will now go to the full House for consideration.