Capitol dome

CHARLESTON -- A bill providing pay raises for teachers, school service, personnel and State Police is headed to the full House for consideration after the House Committee on Finance unanimously passed it Wednesday, changing the bill to provide that teachers receive a 2 percent pay increase for the upcoming year and 1 percent for each of the following three years.

School service personnel and State Police receive a 2 percent pay raise the upcoming year and 1 percent the following year.

The original version of the bill called for a 1 percent pay raise for each of the next five years for teachers and a 1 percent pay raise each of the following two years for all other employees.

“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,” House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said in a news release. “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.”

Earlier Wednesday, the House passed a resolution to recommend that the PEIA finance board suspend implementation of the plan it adopted last December for the 2019 plan year.

House Finance Chair Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said the goal is to balance the desire to give the best pay raises possible to public employees, while also not putting too much strain on future budgets.

Nelson also said lawmakers are continuing to work toward funding improvements to the PEIA health plans. He said funding for PEIA will be addressed when the Legislature passes the 2019 fiscal year budget.

“We're beginning to turn the corner with our state budget picture, but we're by no means out of the woods yet,” Nelson said in the release. “We believe the 2-1-1-1 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 employee pay. 

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