Now that teachers and other school employees across West Virginia have returned to the classroom, lawmakers are turning their attention to the budget to pay for 5 percent raises for educators, service personnel – and the salary hike promised for all public employees.
Those in negotiations with Gov. Jim Justice’s office agreed to cut proposed funding to various programs, according to Senate President Mitch Carmichael’s office. The cuts include the governor’s proposed increases to tourism, general services and the state commerce department. Carmichael said Wednesday that Medicaid would likely also take a funding hit.
Those decreases to the budget result from Senate Republicans’ skepticism of Justice’s assurance that the state is expected to take in $58 million more this coming fiscal year. Majority leadership have said that some of the funding to slashed programs would be reinstated if the governor’s revenue projections ring true.
A committee amendment to the Senate’s version of the budget, Senate Bill 152, reflects the negotiated funding changes to accommodate pay raises for all state employees.
Both House and Senate versions of the budget are scheduled to go up for passage Thursday.