CHARLESTON – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, recently shared his optimism about West Virginia’s future and reiterated his party’s commitment to improving the lives of all West Virginians as the state enters its new fiscal year, which began at the beginning of this month.
On July 1, tens of thousands of West Virginia’s most important public servants, including teachers, school service personnel, corrections officers and other public employees, began receiving an average five percent increase in their paychecks which is the largest aggregate pay increase in state history, which was accomplished without raising taxes. For teachers alone, this equates to approximately $2,500 more in their paycheck for the coming year.
The legislature also allocated an additional $30 million into West Virginia’s Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) to ensure the health plans for teachers and public employees remain the same with no increase in premiums. In total, the pay raise and additional funding for health care exceeds $100 million annually.
“We are proud to have delivered on our promise to teachers and public service employees that their pay checks would increase and their health plans would remain the same without having to raise taxes,” said Carmichael. “Higher wages and stable health care premiums are a large part of why West Virginia’s comeback story is just beginning.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 Budget was delivered on time and completed during the regular 60 day session, which saved taxpayers the unnecessary expense of an extended session.
Carmichael stated, “When Republicans were voted into leadership in 2014, the state was reeling after 83 years of Democratic control, unemployment was rising, businesses were fleeing the state and revenue was declining. Four years later, we are witnessing an amazing transformation. Our state is an economic engine in the region as spending is under control, businesses are creating jobs, wages are increasing, education is improving, and we’ve turned a budget deficit into a surplus. The future is bright, and we are committed to promoting a pro-growth agenda that improves the lives of the hardworking men and women of West Virginia.”