STATE OFFICIALS PULL BACK ON PEIA CHANGES CAUSING LOST INCOME – Change 1% Pay Raise A Little

According to a statement by West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead, House leaders, the Republican caucus and Governor Justice are recommending that the Finance Board of the Public Employees Insurance Agency keep the current premium structure for the next fiscal year.

Armstead stated, “This action will provide lawmakers and officials an extra year to provide input and work toward a more equitable plan that best serves our teachers and state employees, as well as the taxpayers.”

The PEIA plan for this next year would have been a significant loss of income for many teachers and state employees.

The Finance Committee of the House of Delegates Wednesday has approved a plan to give pay raises to teachers, school service personnel, and state police officers.

For teachers, the plan would provided a 2 percent pay increase for the coming fiscal year, followed by 1 percent increases for each of the following three years.

Gov. Jim Justice’s original plan called for 1 percent increases each year for the next five.

For state police and school service personnel, the bill would proved a 2 percent raise in the upcoming fiscal year, with a 1 percent increase next year.

WV TEACHERS UP IN ARMS ABOUT 1% ANNUAL PAY RAISE

2-6-2018- WV teachers held rallies around the state over the weekend, seeking support for a pay increase more than 1% annually for the next five years.

Calhoun-Gilmer teachers and other state employees met last week, deciding to follow the lead of state unions regarding walk-outs or a strike.

House Minority Leader and Harrison County Delegate Tim Miley stood among teachers, service personnel and other supporters Saturday in Clarksburg.

Miley called out Governor Jim Justice on ‘untruths and lies’ about teacher pay raises.

Miley said he gets their frustration — not only with teacher pay but also about rising costs of the Public Employees Insurance Agency. “Their benefits are being eroded, and (there’s) no corresponding meaningful increase in pay,” he said. “There will be a $60 million deficit and perpetuity in PEIA if something is not done to permanently fix it.”

Teachers said they felt ignored by the WV Legislature, calling the “1% offer a slap in the face.”

Republicans in the Legislature have said the raise is what they can offer right now as the state emerges from several difficult budget years.

On Friday, the state Senate passed a 1-percent pay increase for each of the next five years for teachers, service personnel and uniformed and administrative State Police. Teachers rallying on Saturday called the amount “a slap in the face.” “(Gov. Jim Justice) had a press conference scheduled (on Friday). He couldn’t bear to face the teachers, and he’s acting like this is a surprise,” Miley said. “Why are we here almost halfway through this session and he’s done nothing about it?” Governor Justice claimed that there were Democrats last year who did not support pay raises for teachers. Miley sad that “was just, simply not true.”

WV teachers are among the lowest paid in the USA, and many have gone to other states for better pay, in addition to there being about 700 teacher positions vacant in the Mountain State.