In his State of the State address Wednesday, January 8, Gov. Jim Justice did not propose pay raises for teachers or state employees. His proposed Fiscal Year 2020-21 general revenue budget, $4.585 billion, is $108 million less than the current fiscal year.
He did propose spending an additional $26.4 million on child protective services, where turnover is about one third of the workforce each year.
There were several legislative bills submitted Wednesday that pertains to state workers and retirees (mostly retirees). Most pertain to teachers, too.
- House Bill 2350, permitting public employees the right to collectively bargain.
- HB 2871, increasing the state minimum wage gradually to $12 by 2023.
- HB 4068, increasing the state minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2025.
- Senate Bill 117, providing $1,000 cost-of-living adjustment to certain Public Employees Retirement System retirees and teacher retirees.
- HB 2053, providing that state retirees’ insurance benefits be restored to 2015 levels.
- HB 2104, increasing benefit to state retirees by 5% for the next 3 years.
- HB 2372, 2580 and 2748, continuing and/or increasing the exclusion of pension income from state income tax.
- HB 2776, providing a one-time, 3% supplement to PERS and teacher retirees when they reach the age of 70.
- HB 3030, pertaining to the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act. In summary, the bill’s purpose is to allow purchase of retroactive service credit, for periods of employment in which contributions were not deducted from the employee’s pay, in installments rather than in a lump sum under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act.
- SB 31, SB 178 and SB 250: Providing an 11-month window to permit members of the PERS to purchase credited service.
There likely will be other bills submitted in the coming days and weeks.