Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2018 


Senator Corker demands the Trump administration share intelligence on the killing of a Washington Post columnist. Also on the Friday rundown: groups sue over the Texas border wall plan; and the soggy summer in some states may lead to higher pumpkin prices for Halloween.

Daily Newscasts

How Much of a Teacher Pay Raise Can WV Afford?

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a proposed business tax cut would have cost the same as an 11-percent raise for teachers and school service workers. (Sean O'Leary/WV COBP)
According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a proposed business tax cut would have cost the same as an 11-percent raise for teachers and school service workers. (Sean O'Leary/WV COBP)
February 23, 2018

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson County, says the state can only afford a 4-percent pay raise for teachers. But is that true?

Critics point out that Carmichael started the legislative session backing a plan to cut taxes on business machinery, equipment and inventory. That would have cost the state $140 million, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

And that's enough to pay for an 11-percent raise for teachers and school employees, says Delegate and Minority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion County.

"Senator Carmichael and the Republican leadership of the House has been doing some really fuzzy math," says Caputo. "Look, it's all about priorities. If they want to prioritize big business before these hard-working employees, then that's what they'll do."

Sen. Carmichael points out that the business tax cut would have phased in over seven years. The teachers' pay raise phases in over three years - 2 percent the first year, and 1 percent over each of the next two years.

The governor has already signed the 4-percent raise, as part of Senate Bill 267, although teachers are off their jobs today for a second day in protest.

Carmichael argues that, with the increases already built into the state pay structure, teachers will actually get a 10-percent bump a year. Caputo calls that a false comparison, because it includes some types of increases that not all teachers receive.

Caputo asks, if the state's pay package is so good, why does West Virginia still have some of the nation's lowest teacher salaries and hundreds of classroom vacancies?

Carmichael answers that the state ranks low now, because it started out low.

"Because the other ones have started out higher," Carmichael said. "We're beginning to work our way up the list, but you know, nobody else stays static."

Teachers are scheduled to return to their classrooms on Monday, but the conflict is likely to continue.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV