CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin delivered the annual State of the State address Wednesday night at the Capitol, putting the best face possible on West Virginia’s challenging financial condition.

“This is a year of tough financial choices for our state,” Tomblin said. “Our budget is strained.”

But the governor, claiming that raising teacher salaries is a priority, included in his budget a modest 2-percent raise for school teachers and service workers, along with a $504 raise for state employees. Beyond that, the budget either holds the line or cuts spending in state government.

Full text of Tomblin’s speech.

It’s the first across-the-board raise for teachers in three years, although they receive small annual increases based on their years of service.

“We must invest in our future—sow the seeds for tomorrow—and invest in our children and those called to public service,” Tomblin told a joint session of the House of Delegates and the Senate.

The governor’s financial team had to use a creative combination of cuts and one-time dollars, including a dip into the state’s Rainy Day fund, to fill a $265 million projected gap and balance the $4.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2015.

State Tax and Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss called the budget “austere” during a budget briefing earlier in the day.

“The next couple of years going forward are going to be tight,” said Kiss, who added that the state isn’t projecting budget surpluses until 2018 and 2019.

The increasing costs of social service programs are causing the biggest challenges in the budget.

Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor that is funded with state and federal dollars, will cost the state nearly $663 million next year, an increase of $87 million. All of social service spending is increasing $127 million to $1.2 billion. Officials pointed out the rise in Medicaid spending is not linked to Obamacare, which calls for the federal government to, in the near term, pay the entire cost of additional Medicaid patients.

The administration covers the increases, in part, by taking $84 million out of the Rainy Day fund. It’s the first time the state has used any of the reserve fund, which contains $920 million, to pay for ongoing expenses.

Kiss, a former House Speaker and Finance Chair, said leaders reluctantly opened the fund to balance the budget, even though they fear future administrations and legislatures could be tempted to use it more. “It could be a slippery slope,” Kiss said.

The governor proposes sweeping various state accounts for more than $60 million and reducing state spending by $70 million to cover most of the rest of the shortfall. Another $70 million in savings comes from budget cuts.

The budget reduces spending in state agencies-excluding Medicaid, public education, corrections and other essential services-by $70 million. Most remaining state agencies will see cuts of 7.5 percent. Higher education will be cut by 3.75 percent.

The tight budget is a reflection not only of the higher costs for Medicaid and the $41 million price tag of the teacher pay raise, but also the continued struggles of coal. The state’s leading industry has seen a drop in demand and price as utilities have turned more to natural gas. Additionally, mining exports have declined.

Still, state budget officials point to some optimistic signs. Payroll employment has reached a new high of 775,000 and is growing and real GDP growth was the eighth-highest in the nation between 2007 and 2012.

Highlights/notes from the speech:

—Tomblin carried a gardening theme throughout his speech, saying “Governing, like planting, takes planning, patience and foresight. We will cultivate a better future for all West Virginians,” he said.

—He said the cracker plant planned for Wood County could mean 10,000 construction jobs.

—He called on the state Board of Education to implement an A-through-F grading system for schools. “This rating system will provide a better indicator of school wide achievement,” Tomblin said.

—He introduced Marshall football coach Doc Holliday and congratulated him on the Military Bowl victory.

—Tomblin said he’s learned “how incredibly important it is to to be a good steward of the people’s money.”

—He encouraged young West Virginians to “stay in school, stay off drugs, apply yourself and find your passion. The jobs will be here for you.”  He also invited “those who have left the Mountain State (to) come home … to take advantage of the growing opportunities we are creating for you.”

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Comments

  • co2

    A correctional officer 1 starts at under 22,000 a year. I am a level 2 and my yearly salary is under 24,000. The 500 pay raise will be about 35 or 40 dollars a pay day. After taxes maybe 10. 3 gallons of gas will get me to work that week though!!! WOOO HOOO

  • Katrina Szilaj

    With WV's education system ranking 47th (or 4th worst) in the nation for the second straight year, explain to me why they get a larger pay raise than state workers who work 5 days a week all year long? This is just not fair. State workers often risk their lives daily for low pay, yet never get the pay raises like teachers do. I wish our Governor appreciated state workers as much as he does teachers.

  • Aaron

    As usual Dr. Hater, your comments are inaccurate.

    No where have I said that I believe the working class should pay 50% of taxes or nor do I believe "job creators" are gods. Is there a reason you have to make false accusations?

  • Aaron

    With a mean salary of $45K and a generous benefits package that includes a defined retirement plan that allows teachers to retire as early as 55 years old, West Virginia teachers are by no means living in poverty.

  • The bookman

    All from a guy who is demanding more money. Why denigrate people because they have a different view of how to create prosperity for everyone, not just a class or constituent group? If you've truly read instead of angrily rejected Aaron's arguments you would understand that his goal is not to keep you down but to give you a real opportunity for advancement. Your 2% is a joke and is not serious wage improvement...it puts you right back here in the same place next year screaming the same inequity for your peers. Try moving on a meaningful direction and think outside of the box a little, and stop hating!

  • I'm honest at least

    Facts are facts. Just because you don't agree does not make it B.S.

  • wv roads

    Is this another "one time non base building salary enhancement" for public employees? The last "raise" we received was the same thing. You get $500 (before taxes). If you made $20,000 a year in 2011, you still make $20,000 a year in 2014. It doesn't help that every media outlet calls it a raise for public workers. It is not a raise. It does not raise your base salary. This is nothing more than "hush" money to try and quell the slow burning rage known as state employees... It is stunning that to me that state workers have not walked off the job. You have a chance on President's day to have your voice heard in Charleston. Show up at the Capital and let them know enough is enough!

  • stophating

    @Undertheradar

    Save your breathe, you can't argue with a neo-con---they believe the job creators are gods and everyone else is scum of the earth to do their bidding.

    People such as Aaron believe that working class should pay 50% tax so that they don't have to pay a cent. I've given up arguing with them--just let them spout hate and worship the money they have.

    I'll close with a biblical quote from Matthew 19:24 "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

  • Aaron

    Tomblin said he’s learned “how incredibly important it is to to be a good steward of the people’s money.”


    Wait, what. He was in the Senate for 37 years including numerous as the President of the Senate. Perhaps if he had known how to be a good steward while he was in the Senate, our financial affairs might be on more solid ground.

  • Boookman

    More total BS !!!

  • Boookman

    Total BS !!!

  • I'm honest at least

    No but I also don't other state workers to do that either.....A lot of them are closer to that than teachers right now.

  • The bookman

    Believe it or not, I don't think I'm qualified to judge...and what I am about to say is not sarcasm, You are vastly more capable at determining who deserves the raise. I have four children who currently attend public schools in WV. In my opinion, all four teachers deserve to make appreciably more than $60,000 per year, and they are less than 15 yrs of service. Last year, of the four teachers, 2 didn't deserve 25k given their effort. The other 2 were fabulous and I would have supported a raise. I am very engaged in the education of my children, but believe in successful public schools as the backbone of our country.
    You and the rest of your profession have the expertise to establish a merit pay system, but you lack the will. And for the love of God I can't understand why that is? I am not against teachers making more. I am against blindly following the same path, having the same anecdotal arguments about this poor teacher at home on a snow day or that poor state worker on food stamps! None of that matters until we as a society decide everyone does not get to have the same slice of pie. Some people are better at certain things than others, that they should get paid more because of their effort and talent, and that that is OK! Congrats on the Governor's desire to give a raise, but it is not nearly enough for those that are most deserving, and way too much for the rest!

  • stophating

    love this argument.... so teachers should never, ever expect a pay raise, live in homeless shelters, and eat at soup kitchens---

    Teachers have taken a vow of service, not of poverty.

  • stophating

    @bookman

    If you can figure out a fair way to distribute merit raises fairly, then I think all would be in favor.

    Let me use an area I know: education.

    Teacher A has taught for 15 years, shows up for work on time and leaves promptly when the bell rings; but takes two hours of work home daily (which I'm not sure how you would know this). Her students consistently have test scores within 1 standard deviation of the mean (some years higher, some lower).

    Teacher B arrives an hour early for work and stays two hours after, offering free tutoring for students. She has four years of experience, and does not take any work home with her. Her students test scores tend to be significantly below the mean (but she is a special education teacher)

    Teacher C arrives on time and departs soon after students leave. Her students have exceptional test scores (but she teaches 3 AP or honors classes).


    Of these three who deserves a merit raise?

    My answer is all--after you respond, I'll post back and let you know my justifications for all (but maybe we agree).

  • The bookman

    And by the way Steve,

    Starting salaries for school service personnel are generally under $20000 and average salaries under $25000, which makes their 2% raise less than the state worker receives under Tomlin's plan. But the argument is still pointless as his plan reinforces the status quo, which isn't working for anyone other than those who mail in their performance everyday.

  • WVWorker

    Why are they always comparing teacher salaries to teachers in other states, why don't they take a hard look, or even a quick glance, at how our students compare to students in other states. WV spends more per pupil than 90% of the other states on education and a lot of our high school students can't read on a third grade level. I think we should be getting more for the money we are spending now instead of rewarding the same incompetent teachers for poor results.
    It is evident that the majority of our legislators were taught in the WV public school system. They are a bunch of idiots.

  • The bookman

    Steve,

    The comparison was made between teachers and state government employees. All teachers Must have a degree, and many have advanced degrees. That is not the case with state employees. All that being said, the problem I have with across the board raises is that it treats everyone the same without any consideration of merit. If all the resources ever available to even consider bestowing a raise on those who deserve it are eaten up by the inclusion of employees who don't deserve it, no one really ever reaches their true value to the organization, except those who are least deserving. Just because I and others disagree that this path is the correct one doesn't mean I begrudge you of a raise. Frankly, look at the state of this argument for all the proof you should need! Arguing over $504 per year. Or $900 for a teacher? Do those insignificant numbers really change anything for anyone who is currently undervalued? I think not! Yet to achieve such a pointless result and pit groups of people against one another, this Governor wants to now set a precedent of raiding the rainy day fund to make up the shortfall. None of it makes sense, at all, in my humble(hi hops'hip) opinion.

  • WVWorker

    Why are they always comparing teacher salaries to teachers in other states, why don't they take a hard look, or even a quick glance, at how our students compare to students in other states. WV spends more per pupil than 90% of the other states on education and a lot of our high school students can't read on a third grade level. I think we should be getting more for the money we are spending now instead of rewarding the same incompetent teachers for poor results.
    It is evident that the majority of our legislators were taught in the WV public school system. They are a bunch of idiots.

  • Suggestion....

    *not allow....

  • Suggestion....

    Might I make a suggestion? If you are unhappy with your state job whatever it may be then do what I did. Leave it and go get something better. It may require more training/education but in the long run it will pay off. I was very unhappy working for the state (DOC actually) so I left it and persued a different career and I am now working in the field making a lot more and enjoy doing it. I know each person has different situations that can allow or now allow them to do that but if you are part of the ones that can.... then go do it.

    Don't wait for the WV government to make you happy, go make yourself happy.

    (Not bashing any state workers, just providing a possible option for some to try. It worked for me, hopefully it will work for others.)

  • I'm honest at least

    I would say its very fair to say teachers should have been aware of the pay when they went to college. If a person becomes a teacher to get rich or to get the pay they feel is deserved then fool is the word that comes to mind.

  • calvin stackpole

    what i would like to know is where is all the extra revenue from the oil and gas boom is going. idiots running wva?.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    Thank you.

  • Aaron

    I'm not sure how you get that the working poor are paying all the taxes given that the lowest 31% income earners are tax negative and the next 20% will pay zero federal taxes.

    Given the facts,how is the working poor paying for everything. And while we're on the subject of the working poor, what are the income guidelines of the working poor?

  • The truth

    Not all off us work 9 to 5.

  • Aaron

    I remember an old time preacher who talked about parishioners complaining about the sermons. He said that if their toes weren't in the aisles, he wouldn't be stepping on them.

    My guess Mr. Radar is that you're state employee who knows his job would be completed more efficiently in private industry and as such is scared of being pushed into the real world.

    At any rate, if you don't like my comments, then my suggestion is simple.

    Don't read them.

    Good day

  • Aaron

    I'm not sure what your point is undertheradar. I'm not the one on here crying about my lot in life. Is there a point?

  • peg

    you could get a job at Raleigh General Hospital. Their employees were given a raised & then it was taken back.

  • grif

    BOO HOO, teachers & correctional officers know the pay scale before accepting the job. If you want DC pay then go live in DC

  • yup

    yeah, I can't wait to see what the grades reports will be for our schools. People will be then asking what the "hell" is going on.

  • yup

    If your not happy write your senators and congressman. You can't make change happen unless you get everyone together and make a stand together.

  • C.H

    Yes, I am interested in hearing the results of the Heay Group project , that was conducted under Manchin.

  • yup

    I am with you. I have a master's and I am making 32k and I am grateful for work and a raise. It's better than nothing.

  • Walsingham

    The teacher raise will probably cover the increase in union dues over the next year.

  • Undertheradar

    Who bailed out the financial industry? Taxpayers. Who bailed out Wall Street? Taxpayers. Who reaps great benefits & great riches beyond belief & provides no service to the citizens? Health Insurance Industry! Who is allowed to borrow dollars against their “private” pensions that are matched by the for profit corporation? Private employees. Who is NOT allowed to borrow against their public pension? Public Employees. So, your "personal investments" are not the responsibility of tax payers?

  • Undertheradar

    There should be a comma after "teacher"; 'But' should have quotations "But"

    As long as all employees (the working poor paying all the taxes), including retirees, continue to be divided, we lose! “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

  • Steve

    Oops, meant for those comments to be directed @the bookman.

  • Steve

    @the truth:

    This 2% raise is across the board, is it not? The bus drivers and support staff with NO DEGREES get the same 2%, correct?

    Well, according to your brilliant analysis, ALL OF STATE GOVT. deserves a 2% raise.

    You're welcome.

  • Steve

    @the truth:

    Many jobs in state govt. require masters, PhD and law degrees. If your argument is the teachers deserve a raise simply due to their education, then you wholeheartedly agree that those in state govt. with college degrees deserve the same raise.

    And you further wholeheartedly agree that those in state govt. with higher degrees than teachers deserve an even higher raise. Right? Riiiightt.

  • Undertheradar

    At Aaron; tired of your right wing, ultraconservative sound bites & other for profit propaganda to be paid for by the taxpayers. Please! Corporations already own the federal & WV state governments. The working poor continues to pay more & more taxes, including state employees, i.e., Dollar Danny tax, while corporations, especially those that extract resources and destroy WV’s mountains, receive tax breaks, tax incentives, etc. to create jobs, yet, for instance, coal companies employ less & less coal MINERS and employ machines to blow up mountains to extract resources and create hazards that will be the burden of future generations. Then the state & federal governments privatizes (through the guise of grants) most services to the citizens at a higher cost so that “friends of Manchin, etc.” can get rich. Give me a break with your hatred towards the working poor, the middle class no longer exists.

  • Dennis

    No mention of transportation funding for road and bridge repairs. With the notable slides that have been blocking roads and access to people's homes, you would have thought it would at least have deserved some mention.

  • Pclizzark

    You people should be more appreciative of what you get. The fact that the Governor is even considering pay raises amidst times of reduced revenue is a miracle. Try to find some joy in a positive thing rather than looking for reasons to whine. Also, shouldn't you be working right now and not surfing the Internet?

  • Aaron

    One thing that public employees seem to forget is that the stakeholder they want to negotiate with in their demands for pay raises is not the Governor or the Legislature, it is the public taxpayers. We are the ones who must come up with the funds to support any raise given to you.

    Below, we read ignorant comments about organizing and walking out on the job. To those individual, I would suggest you take heart to FDR's words when he said such actions were "unthinkable and intolerable."

    I am curious though, there is one young lady who has suggested numerous times that if the state would grind to a halt without public employees. What I would really like to see is a list of invaluable state jobs that could not be completed more efficiently thus requiring a lower cost in the private market.

    Finally, I will say that for those interested in the truth, the plight of the public worker is not a dire as they would have you believe. Ceteris paribus, the compensation package for public employees is on par in the vast majority of circumstances and in some, better than private industry.

    While everyone wants to make more money, if you are unhappy, give up the sick time, vacation days, paid holidays and defined retirement plan that allows you to retire as early as 55 and venture out into the private world.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    "Verses" should be "versus"; "your" should be "you're"; no period after '$900', followed by a lower case 'm'; no comma after 'But', and "empolyee" should be "employee". I hope most of those errors are simple typos.

    I am a retired AFT member. Nothing causes me to cringe more than misspelling or grammar errors from a teacher for those errors tend to solidify many preconceived notions regarding the value of our educators.

  • Aaron

    I'm not so sure that's true any more. Most state jobs either require a ton of experience or a Bachelor's degree. They just don't stipulate what the degree has to be in so at least those with History and English Lit degrees have viable job opportunities.

    At any rate, we all invest in our future. I don't think the cost of our personal investments are the responsibility of the state taxpayers.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    Yes. It's like the smoker who said, "Quitting is easy. I've done it a thousand times." :)

  • Panhandle (2)

    I am not a teacher, however keep in mind teachers spent thousands of dollars to get where they are (degree). In general most state workers are high school diploma or GED, just saying. Either way it is not much on either side so I do not see where anyone should be mad at teachers they are not the ones who made this decision

  • corrections

    Jason 214 -You obviously haven't worked in corrections in WV. A WV corrections officer starts out at 22,554. I have been assaulted myself and seen my other co-workers assaulted numerous times. I know several that are no longer able to work due to the assault. Stating that the geographical area is what determines the amount of danger one encounters makes you an idiot.

  • Aaron

    Check out this link that shows the average state workers compensation is actually higher than private industry in West Virginia...

    http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/comparing-state-salaries-to-private-pay-85899487682

  • State worker and mom

    I am a state worker with less than 3 yrs on the job, so no increment yet. I am also a mother of 4 with one child now serving in our Military and the other 3 still in school. I am grateful for any raise we are able to receive even if it will be going towards increased PEIA premiums. That just means when they increase the cost of medical insurance I wont be spending more out of my pocket but will still be able to have approximately the same budget to work with. I don't agree that all teachers should receive the the pay raise since not all are actually willing to try to help teach our youth. A friend of mine's son was diagnosed with extreme ADD and Dyslexia and a teacher actually had the audacity to tell him to just quit and go home. He did. However, there are some teachers that go above and beyond the call of duty to help some of the more challenged children. They deserve to be recognized and paid accordingly. State workers, also. Not everyone in State deserves the pay raise either.

  • Aaron

    Many do now. Of course the degree doesn't matter which is why you might have a guy doing payroll at a local community college holding a history degree or an administrative at the capitol complex with an English Literature degree.

  • Aaron

    ...and that comment was directed specifically at Panhandle's comments but any other state employee who feel it applies to them, by all means, respond.

  • Aaron

    That comment was directed at the individual who feels under appreciated...

  • The bookman

    That puts Tomblin on the wrong side of the issue. If state workers and teachers pushed for merit increases in a public way, and carefully framed the argument, I believe the public would widely support it.

  • Aaron

    You do get compensated for time beyond 40 hours though, correct! And you can retire at 55, collect a nice pension and even return to state work if you choose, correct! You began your state career with 15 vacation days, 18 sick days and at least 12 paid holidays, correct! And if you work for the state for 10 years and are current on student loan payments, they pay whatever is owed after 10 years, correct!

    I am curious though, you said that you cannot afford to go back to school. I wonder, why. The state pays for half your tuition and if your pay is as bad as you say, you would certainly qualify for grants. So why not go back to school?

  • Aaron

    Are you calculating the 2 months off each year you get that would you likely wouldn't get in private industry along with the retirement system that will allow you to retire as early as 55 and continue collecting public funds for decades?

  • Aaron

    State employees organize? I'm reminded of FDR who said regarding state employees organizing.

    "All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."

  • ShinnstonGuy

    People would love to come back...create the environment for them to do so. Morgantown is now one of the best places in America to start a business, but so much more could be done to make the state "business friendly." Stop preaching it Legislature and just do it!

  • Aaron

    The working public seems to do OK on one of the many days you guys at the state are off so would we really notice one more day?

  • Aaron

    Perhaps that is the catalyst needed that would lead to privatization of the DOH.

  • Aaron

    You're prediction reminds me of the Preacher who has publicly predicted the end of times...5 times.

  • Aaron

    Before calculating in your county supplemental pay, with your education, you're making ~42K per year. Depending on what your Masters is in, you could easily match the ~$26.00 per hour you make now in private industry.

  • The truth

    I want merIt only raises. Tomblin has specifically forbid them.

  • Aaron

    Given the the state of our educational system, it was a fair raise.

  • Independent View

    Come on folks, it doesen't take a PhD to understand why teachers get the largest pay increase and a pay increase when the state is suffering through tough economic times, the toughest since the Great Depression. Second only to Wal-Mart, WV's largest employer, county boards of education are the second largest employers. It's not about education because studies prove that there is no corelation between teacher pay raises and improved education--it's votes! And, in WV even if a comprehensive study had not proved it, the practical application is abundantly clear to anyone who takes an impartial view of WV's education situation.
    $20 billion +/- in unfunded teachers' retirement and they want more raises, which in turn, increases the retirement liability exponentially. Should we bite the bullet and pay down the unfunded liability? Nooooo, let's give teachers a pay raise instead. Not selfish? Brilliant!

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    As a lifelong West Virginian my son is in a similar situation, susanf1218. We'll probably relocate out-of-state with him.

    It is truly a shame that the state educates our children for careers that don't exist here. He will probably have to leave to pursue his chosen career.

    There will be those who say "We're better off without you" or "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" or "If you don't like it here, then leave". My response is "You're probably right", "Don't worry, we won't" and "We will" but I will also add "Here's my banking info for depositing my retirement check".

  • Jason412

    After looking it up, WV is definitely not the second worst paid in corrections. Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Nebraska are all paid less. Mississippi having a median of just over 25,000 a year.

  • Jason412

    WV has to be one of the least dangerous states to be a C.O. Considering a Charleston CO makes just a few grand less then a Pittsburgh CO I would say it is pretty fair. No huge gangs, race wars, constant murders, etc in WV correctional system.

  • The bookman

    I agree with you as well that pitting two groups who must go to the same well for wage increases is a bad idea. It leads to these kinds of comparisons that divide and distract each group. I have friends and family who are members of both groups, and inequity in compensation does exist for them. But I still contend that across the board wage increases are not the answer for either group. That approach devours any available resources for true competitive salary increases by spreading it across the deserving and not so deserving employee. What we then are left with is the same broken system with all the same problems and inequity, but fewer resources to address the real problems. A different approach is necessary here to gain a truly positive result. The facts are that everyone feels they should get a raise, be it private or public sector. But truthfully not everyone is deserving of one.

  • susanf1218

    Because, Jason, SOMEONE has to take care of and provide services for all those "poor" people you are so concerned about!

  • WhgFeeling

    Problem is that Increment Pay is NOT on top of their salary, where as your annual pay increases are on top of your salary. Quit whining. If your 2% equals almost $900 that means you are already make about $15,000 more a year than the average state employee (yours = $45,000/yr - median $30,000/year) PLUS other state employees don't get the luxary of having snow days, spring breaks, holiday breaks, and summers off!!!!!

  • susanf1218

    My two sons are in college at WVU now and will probably leave the state after they finish. One of them receives the Promise Scholarship as well as the Science, Engineering, and Technology scholarship, but neither of those will "entice" him to stay in this state b/c he will undoubtedly find more career opportunities elsewhere. So the brain drain continues with the best and brightest leaving WV. As you say, it is truly sad . . .

  • Jason412

    Why do you choose to work for the state then?

  • Steve

    Yep, like I said in an earlier response, a raise to state workers means only one thing . . . PEIA is due an increae.

    A raise to state workers is nothing more a transfer of money to PEIA disguised as a raise.

  • Steve

    Of coure, the teachers are complaining now about an A-F grading system. It might show that teachers aren't teaching. Can't have that disclosed, ya know.

  • Steve

    Elizabeth, whenever state workers get a raise, it means one thing . . . PEIA is due an increase.

    A raise to state workers is nothing more than a transfer of money to PEIA disguised as a raise.

    Now get to work and support those welfare bums who won't work.

  • WhgFeeling

    Spot on!!

  • WhgFeeling

    I wouldn't begrudge a state employee for wanting a raise even if it is so small.....BUT with all the dipping into this fund or cutting this huge amount of spending I must ask....Is it worth it??? With a state in such financial hardship as they claim why raise it?

    If you must raise it why not do something a little more appealing to help with retention and equality. Simply lump all state employees together and raise their Annual Increment pay.

  • Steve

    Oh, you'll hear them loudly whine and complain this time next year.

  • unappreciated and underpaid

    My job requires a college degree in addition to specialized training and experience; however, my pay is extremely low. If I worked for anyone other than the state, I would earn an additional $10,000 or more annually.

  • pcm

    Rug... Directly from my supervisor's mouth, who is an engineer: The DOP knew they were 9% behind where they were supposed to be on salaries statewide before the PLANS project. The results of the PLANS project showed they were now around 16% behind, so the DOP told them to throw it out and do it again. (Trying to find numbers they "like" I guess?)

    However, an HR coordinator in my office said that the DOP did not throw the PLANS out and that they are are finalizing new classifications. People who are reclassified may get raises, but the individual classifications themselves will not get any raises.

    Go figure...

  • Mtmama

    Pat of the speech was,writer by Chaunciey Gardnier from the movie being there with Peter Sellers. Not sure I would want to be compared to Mr. Gardnier.

  • the truth

    My only argument with your position is that most state jobs have a complete turnover in workforce every three years so the increment is never paid. You do not receive it unless you have three years of service. My organization is currently down 30% of its work force with a hiring freeze in place. I think the politicians do this for the sole reason to separate us and cause us to fight over the crumbs. I commend you for your education, the sad thing is as a regular state employee we are expected to continue our education but get no extra pay for it.

  • the truth

    I tell every new worker that comes in to put their time in and get some experience and leave. Nothing is going to change and every state job is a dead end job.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    From the text of his speech, we can predict the following:

    *Earl's Fantasy Fracker is going to save us all!
    *unemployment will be all but eradicated
    *all state workers will be happy, happy, happy
    *taxes will decrease
    *the "rainy-day fund" remains untouched
    *BMWs will become the vehicle of choice
    *infrastructure improvements will begin
    *no weeds will be found in anyone's garden.

    Any thoughts?

  • Jdawg

    If you teachers don't like your pay quit complaining and find a new job! I think most like to be the boss and in so called "charge". Tired of hearing teachers complain, I'm a manager making 85k plus a bonus and some more perks and I would love to have normal people hours and weekends off! I enjoy what I do!!!

  • CryMeARiver

    Panhandle, With the education you already have you should be very close to becoming a teacher. Bite the bullet in the present to become a future teacher and then reap all the "rewards" so many of them enjoy. Now that the school year is close to year round they can't take their normal second job in the summers to help offset the lower salaries. What a benefit, huh?!?

  • The Sarge

    Every year the PEIA charges more. State employees do not get raises every year. More like every 3-4 years. When the raises do come, it covers the PEIA hike that has been implemented for the last 3-4 years. All it does is even the load. And we all wonder why the state employees are disgruntled. Were we not in the black a couple of years ago? That's right, we sent our surplus to the states that were effected by the recession. Bad investment with no return. Now we are going to cut spending to please the teachers union. Lets coddle the rest of the state employees with 500 dollars.

  • Fed Up

    It is obvious that things r going to stay the same here. Sad to say.
    I am proud to say all 4 of my children are college educated.
    Sad to say all 4 are living and working out of state.
    Reason is they all found work in theIr field plus make twice the pay.
    Until we get rid of all those good ole boys in Charleston nothing is going to change. Sad to say ..

  • Lowlander

    I am gracious for any pay raise, so thank you Governor...that said, someone below commented that teachers have more education. I have a Masters, work a job that CAN require 24/8 work to be completed (24/8 = 24/7/365+holidays), and make 36k a year. Do not tell me that teachers earned anything. Tell me they are gracious and will quit griping. I'm not ecstatic, but anything is better than nothing!

  • AFT Proud

    I am a teacher with 13 years of teaching experience, and a masters degree plus 45 additional masters level credit hours of college. As a teacher I receive $580 a year pay raise (cost of living). But, teachers do not receive the $50 per year of service increment pay that other state employees receive. A state employee with 13 years of service will receive $650 increment check this year compared to my $580. The 2% raise I could receive if passed is less than $900. Meaning I could receive a total raise of about $1450, verses a state empolyee with 13 years of service stands to make a total raise (counting increment pay) of $1154. I spent over $30,000 on my education with a monthly student loan payment of $350. Your talking less than $300 a year difference or about $12.50 per pay difference in pay. We should work together to improve all workers pay, not make hateful remarks because one of us might make $300 more a year.

  • Wowbagger

    State employees will need to organize in some way before staging a walkout. Also, prison guards and DOH employees during a snow storm will be more effective than say DEP inspectors, engineers, scientists or perhaps DNR Police.

    I understand that lobbying your legislators is currently against the rules, but as a citizen that is a violation of your First Ammendment rights. I would say that an intense, but polite lobbying campaign directed at the people you can vote for or not might possibly be more effective.

  • Lydee

    Nice gardening theme in the WV State of the State Address tonight. When good buddy Earl Ray Tomlin said “those who have left the Mountain State (to) come home … to take advantage of the growing opportunities we are creating for you...” was he referring to marijuana?

    Because, think of all the job opportunities that would be created if marijuana were legalized in WV. Our declining population troubles would be over.

    And please Earl Ray, don't bend over backwards to give me a 2% pay increase. The less you pay me, the further I can stick my hand out for a government handout.

  • fletch

    whew. I'm staying off the roads tomorrow, I don't want to get run over by all those people coming home.

  • jm

    utter bull............. 500 dollar raise for state employees and 2% for teachers. just terrible. The teachers have had a 1.5% raise each of the last 6-7 years........while the rest of us have had nothing but a rise in insurance rates, increased inflation, and teachers seem to be the ones that make out. Cmon, lets figure in a 25% raise for the state police while we are at it............ Oh and not forget to vote all the legislators a raise too............

  • Joe

    Do teachers not understand that merit raises are only given to a select percentage of employees for top performance. Not all would receive them.

    Wait, silly me, there I go again actually assuming teachers grasp what happens on the real world.

  • Wowbagger

    truth, here's a reality check.

    State workers with Master of Science and Phds in science and engineering are getting all of $504 too! Some of these folks will now leave and immediately DOUBLE their salaries. Those with too much invested for one reason or another will be unwilling to take up the slack.

    Most MS degrees take longer than MEd degrees and many can't be obtained online like MEds. Most Phds take longer than EDds.

  • So

    Can't get link to work but I'd like to take a look.

  • So

    the teachers got three times the raise we did last time as well in addition to the 1.5% increase they get every year. I better not hear a teacher complaining about pay in a LONG time.

  • the truth

    site

  • the truth

    You could have paid me a lot less to tell you it was broken but DOP and the state are to cheap to fix so leave it alone.

  • the truth

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/218245975029104/

    Here is a sight I created so state employees can talk about what needs to be done to stop this crummy treatment.

  • Myron

    I was appalled the announced raise for teachers was not at least 7%.

  • Mike

    Yes. That's why the union is ok with it. Ave salary $42k x 2% = $804 plus a 1.5% cost of living $630. Total raise $1,434. Make sense? That's why they aren't complaining. It's more than $504. I can do that math. Cha-Ching

  • Under the Rug

    Well...With that raise for state employees they can still leave peia for medicaid, and qualify for food stamps. I agree with the one post, allowing merit raises would help some. But even though federal funds for state projects have room and allot space for pay increases, the state personnel agency doesn't allow that. Ask why not? Meh... They may have to raise salaries again if a federal minimum wage passes. The answer is what's missing? Hop, what ever happened to the DOP's PLANS project that started at the end of Manchins term, ya know the multi million dollar project that was to look into state employee job salary comparisons and bring them into alignment. Was that project and the millions spent all for nothing? Or were the salaries too far out of line to share the findings. 1.5-2% raises won't touch it. Makes ya wonder....

  • the truth

    The politicians want employees fighting over the crumbs. Lets be honest, 2 percent is sad and 504.00 is a complete joke.

  • the truth

    I can say everyone in my organization has a college degree. Look at the Division of Personnel job descriptions. The funny thing is they show a pay range for jobs. I can tell you now that unless you are a political crony you never get away from the bottom of the pay scale. They will make allowances for job experience in hiring but many want collage degrees. Many want Masters degrees.

  • Panhandle

    I agree to a point Bookman for sure. I do have a degree but not an advanced (4 or more year) degree, I couldn't afford anymore time in school. But they also get perks that we don't, as I stated above. I agree perhaps it is a bad comparison, but when we under value the state employees as I feel was done tonight and pit the average state worker against the teacher as was done and has been done in the past, it is going to bring hard feelings.

  • The bookman

    The majority of state jobs require a college degree? Are you sticking with that first sentence?

  • the truth

    The majority of regular state jobs require a college degree. However, unlike teachers state employees do not get anything financially for gaining graduate degrees. A masters in social work requires a massive amount of time as it requires I believe six hundred hours of unpaid field work and continued education. I do not begrudge teachers a raise. I do become annoyed that Manchin and Tomblin specifically forbid merit raises. My small organization is down 30% of the allotted workers and I have been covering a position that was vacant for two years. Why? The answer is simple, low pay and no hope for advancement without switching jobs.

  • So

    So is this 2% increase for the teachers in addition to the 1.5% cost of living adjustment they get every year? I'm assuming it is. This small increase isn't even going to cover our PEIA dues come this time next year. State workers just need to strike and before anyone says we can't strike we can!

  • The bookman

    You are important, for certain. But comparing state workers in general to school teachers who have all obtained college degrees, with many obtaining advanced degrees, is really not a fair comparison to them. I don't know your level of education, but I would bet the farm that teachers in general have invested more in their education than the average state worker, and like it or not, that brings value.

  • Confidential

    That will be ~$15.75 on each of my 24 pay checks after taxes. Many federally-funded agency budgets have sufficient funds to grant merit increases. Merit increases were "banned" by a former governor in 2005. Although our current governor granted a partial lift of that ban, the conditions that must be met before the increase is granted make it near impossible to obtain that increase. The conditions are not based on merit; therefore, some of those that have obtained an increase under the new conditions were employees that were previously not granted merit increases because of their poor job performance. The high turnover affects many areas: the amount of personnel required to process applications and position postings, time associated with interviews, training costs for the new employee, etc. Because of the low pay scale, state government cannot attract highly-qualified applicants. Those highly-qualified persons that do apply and that do accept a position are doing so to obtain experience for a future non-state-government position. Morale among employees is at an all-time low, which affects job performance and the quality of service our customers receive. I have too many years vested with the retirement system to leave state government. I too should have used my time with state government to obtain experience for a future non-state-government position. In closing I guess I should say it's not the gift but the thought that counts. Thoughts are cheap.

  • Ben

    Thanks for nothing. Correctional Officer th 49th lowest paid in the nation. Way to encourage the youth and those who left to come back. Come back and join the poverty level of working a state job. What a joke

  • the truth

    I would not call it a raise. More like cake for the poor masses to eat while Earl Ray and his cronies live the high life.

  • Panhandle

    I am not at all happy with a $504 raise. It seems everyone thinks teacher's are the most important, they are important, but I work in a field that works 24 hours a day, 7 days and week, 365 days a year, we don't get weekends off, nor Holidays. When our teachers get a snow day I am still required to come to work. When our teachers are at their child's play or Christmas program I am at work. Maybe I am not as important as a teacher but I will rest assured teachers would not keep the hours that I do nor would they accept the pay. I don't get Cost of living increases. So it would be nice if someone would just acknowledge that we are important as teachers..........

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    Sorry Gov., but several of us passed the speech to watch reruns of Willie race lawn mowers and Uncle Si eat coon skat.

  • the truth

    You know it will not kick in until July, just in time for PEIA.

  • Elizabeth

    A slap in the face, most of all state employees work hard with no even a hey job well done.
    Well I guess our insurance will go up and take away the 504. Dollars. Thanks Earl

  • Mountain Man

    Missing equipment from DOH districts, fraudulent purchases and embezzlement made by senior state employees and university officials. Time and time again, we ask, where are the internal controls? And Tomblin or Tumble says, "we have taken steps to prevent this in the future." What future is he referring? Next century? We have no integrity rich leadership in our state and the most corrupt senior or appointed employees (not all mind you) to say the least.

  • Mountain Man

    More raises for teachers? Even though they get an automatics annual raise for years of service. Just a body of union workers who are protected but yet not held accountable for their performance. So many (not all) who do the bare minimum but continued to be employed. They are supposed to be professionals. But few really are these days on our state. No matter, the exodus of population from this state will reveal that in ten years you won't need many teachers.

  • The bookman

    Why all the gloom and doom about revenues falling short, then only to raid the cash cow to fill a budget shortfall for the first time in its history? And then for Kiss to comment that he hopes this doesn't set a precedent for future draws against the fund only cements the complete fiscal collapse that was witnessed in Charleston. Ineptitude at its best..."tough financial choice"...really governor? If you were going to raid the fund for pay raises to state workers and teachers it should at least be substantial. I have lost all respect for you as our Governor, and thankfully we will be rid of you in a few short years. Good riddance, however, it appears you have already given up, or in, depending on the perspective.

  • susanf1218

    Unionized or not, state employees need to have a walkout! Blue flu! It wouldn't be hard to have that happen. But if they aren't willing to stand up for themselves, no one else will!

  • susanf1218

    Don't spend it all in one place!

  • Wowbagger

    Typical, teachers get the bigger raise because they have some collective representation while other state workers get the crumbs.

  • wow

    21 extra dollars a pay before taxes. Guess I better enjoy it before peia takes that and then some next year.

  • Bob Thomas

    Seriously...$514, in 3-4 years. How about matching the teachers raise of 2% and promise a cost of living increase. I'd rather have a COL annually. Had state workers got the same 2%, for me, it would have meant $800 about the same for most teachers. A $300 difference, plus they get a COL each year. #NotFairHoppy

  • susanf1218

    Along with an increase of $127 million in other social service programs! Here's an idea - let's stop encouraging people to jump on the gravy train, and especially to stop coming here from other states, to drain our state budget dry!

  • susanf1218

    $87 million increase in Medicaid! Just perfect!! Meanwhile, everyone else should just be thrilled to accept budget cuts in order to pay for this.

  • susanf1218

    And just listen to them scream when the state employees who do the work to keep this state operating on a daily basis bring it to a screeching halt! The state worker haters would be highly offended if they couldn't get the services they expect!

  • steve

    better than nothing

  • The truth

    It is nothing. I think we should all walk off the job for day when the weather is bad. Tomlin is like Manchin in they starve their employees. All the people who say just find another job, all I can say that is what happens since many state jobs have a 30% turnover rate every year.

  • sam

    $ 504 a year. Better than nothing. Way to go WVDOH employees.