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W.Va. House OKs State Worker Raises, Troopers Get Bigger Bump

SB 531 - 2022 - House of Delegates - Pay Raises.jpg
Perry Bennett
WV Legislative Photography

State police troopers in West Virginia would receive a $10,000 pay increase under a bill approved by the House of Delegates on Monday.

The proposal was passed 97-0 and now returns to the Senate, which previously had unanimously passed Gov. Jim Justice’s request for a 5 percent pay raise for most state employees. That proposal had included raises of about $2,550 for state troopers, and the House tacked on additional $7,450 raises for them while leaving the original pay raises for the other state workers intact.

In the original Senate bill, the $71.4 million cost of the raises for state police, teacher, student support personnel and school service personnel was included in the Republican governor’s proposed fiscal 2023 budget. The additional raises passed by the House adds $8 million to the bill. The increases would be effective July 1.

“I am concerned about its fate when it returns to the Senate because its fiscal note has now grown by $8 million,” said Delegate Jason Barrett, a Berkeley County Republican.

Some lawmakers had sought a state police pay increase based upon location, arguing that troopers in the Eastern Panhandle had a higher cost of living due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. But that bill did not make it out of the House before last week’s deadline for legislation to pass in their originating chamber.

Under the increases in the House version, a newly hired state police cadet would receive a base annual pay of about $48,500 while undergoing academy training. By comparison, current salaries for academy trainees are $47,800 in Virginia and $51,000 in Maryland.

Braxton County Democrat Brent Boggs said the across-the-board raise for troopers was the right move, then the locality pay could be looked at later.

“We’re hurting in a lot of areas of the state and we’re going to doom some people to the lowest of the low pay forever if we aren’t careful and we raise locality pay without giving consideration to the people that are losing population year after year after year after year,” Boggs said.

Justice offered the state employee pay raises in December, citing the state's budget surplus. For the first eight months of the fiscal year, it was about $590 million above the year-to-date estimate.

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