CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A handful of West Virginia retired public employees and retired teachers protested on tax return deadline day at the state Capitol Tuesday. They claimed they are being discriminated against.

Coalition of Retired Public Employees President Ernie “Spud” Terry said they chose April 15 for a reason.

“I’ve been retired for 15 years. My wife has been retired for 10 years. That’s 25 years without any increase in our pension and very little tax relief.” explained Terry.

Currently public retirees are taxed on both their state pension and their social security. Meanwhile, other retirees, like fire fighters, police officers and military, receive upwards of a $20,000 tax exemption on their retirement.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Some state retirees sent a message Tuesday about pensions being taxed.

Retirees attending the event said for teachers who have put in 35 years, DOH workers who have toiled for the state for 40 years and agency secretaries who came to work for 45 years plus, said it’s a slap in the face not to be included in that tax exemption.

Terry said they’re asking for a $20,000 tax exemption. He stressed it wouldn’t cost the state much for most public retirees.

“Our folks that are retired and over 70-years-old, their average pension is less than $8,000 a year,” he said.

Terry cited another disparity in the refusal of the governor and legislature to even consider a cost-of-living increase. However, politicians seem to have no problem getting what they ask for according to Terry.

“During these years that we’ve been down here trying to get a little relief the legislature gave themselves a wonderful raise. The governor’s salary has effectively been doubled since we started this little crusade for fairness and equity and respect and dignity,” said Terry.

He made it clear, retirees won’t be ignored.

“I want the word out to our good citizens of the state and the governor. We are asking him to include our teachers and public retirees to the same level of benefits that other retiree systems have!”

Currently 35 states offer their public retirees at least a $20,000 tax exemption on their pensions.

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Comments

  • Steve

    Really? You are comparing teaching to military service? Have you ever even talked to anyone who served 20 years in the military? For that matter have you ever known anyone who went to work 12 months a year, good weather and bad, sick or not, whatever shift, weekends, holidays, under far less than desirable/comfortable conditions for 35 years and retired with whatever they had in their 401K? Stop whining!

  • Steve Bretherton

    Eliminate all tax exemption breaks and the overall rate could be lowered if everyone paid their fair share, No free or reduced rides!

  • Paul

    All retirees did not put in an equal amount of years to be eligible to retire. I support our teachers and believe they deserve a tax break but they do not work three different shifts, holidays, weekends and deploy to foreign soil like the military. Many DOH and state employees do get some overtime pay so its not a slap in the face to not get the same exemption but it is a slap in the face to just count years of service the same.

  • Fred

    Public employees' pay, benefits, and pensions have surpassed those available to the average worker in this country. It is time to eliminate early retirement for police and firefighters and bring the pay of government employees back in line with that of the regular worker.

  • Nancy kincaid

    Discrimination spelled wrong!

    • Dennis

      Blame it on an overpaid teacher.

  • George

    As before let's keep electing the Democrats and the State will continue to deteriorate.....but remember we do rank in the upper 10 percent in teen pregnancy,,,,obesity...lack of jobs , welfare assistance, poor roads, and the most miserable States to live in. And now we even have an ignorant Governor who has no respect for human life. Apparently his knowledge of biology is very limited".............

  • David

    They need to drop the exemptions and stop taxing SS.

    I will not retire in WV because if this and I live here now .

  • Gary

    Thirty some states don't tax social security but WV does. There are a lot of states that also don't tax a persons pension one which is Pa but WV does. According to an article last year WV has the 6th highest taxes for retirees. They ought to at least up the exemptions for retirees. ALL RETIREES need some tax relief. When one pays almost as much for state taxes as federal taxes its a disgrace.

  • SPIKE BISHOP

    What makes these retirees so Special??? In the REAL world, Retirees ARE NOT a Mandatory Source of Bargaining. Why does any State employees get Any COLA'S. If special rates or Increases are promised, someone needs to be held responsible!!. I guess when your spending Taxpayers Money, rules don't apply!

    • BlackwaterBoy

      Because "spike bishop" unlike the "REAL WORLD" state employees have not gotten a cost of living increase in several years and the raises we do get are just enough for them to tax it right back out of our pockets. That is why the state retirees are asking for a tax break. People doing the same jobs we do in the private sector make THREE times as much as those of us who work for the state. Yes their are some who make a considerable amount but many more of us are barley making minnimum wage.

      • susanf1218

        Well said, Blackwater Boy! The ignorance of some is just stunning. And the idiots also fails to understand that state employees also PAY TAXES!! So, in essence, they are paying their own salaries.

  • Retired_teacher

    May want to run spell check on the headline.

    • Edwin

      I guess if the teachers and done their job there would not have been a problem with the spelling

      • Leo

        Edwin, sounds as if you did not pay attention in school either! And done their job? Come on son, that was a fourth grade sentence at best, so you should have at least been able to construct it correctly.

  • Fixed Income Too

    Getting the same $20k exemption as fire fighters, police officers and military seems logical.
    However, I do not get an exemption on my retirement and I pay taxes on my retirement and Social Security too.
    Further, I do not get a raise in my retirement benefits. I knew that when I enrolled in the retirement program.
    And, the Charleston firefighters pension fund has an unfunded liability in the hundreds of millions. Just a few years ago, the teachers retirement system had an unfunded liability of a billion dollars +. O.K. progress has been made and it now stands at just hundreds of millions. Any calls for firefighters or teachers to contribute more to make the funds solvent creates screams from their unions and membership.
    So, I hope you get your exemption, while I, like other taxpayers, will pick up the tab, but I will not get any increases. It doesn't seem fair.