CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) wants to slow down on Governor Jim Justice’s revised pay raise plan for teachers, education workers and state employees.
“We are going to put a very thoughtful analysis to this because we don’t think that has been accomplished to this point,” Carmichael told MetroNews.
Tuesday night, Justice did an about face on the pay raise issue, proposing a five percent increase for teachers and school service workers and a three percent increase for state employees next year.
The governor revised projected revenue estimates upward for next fiscal year by $58 million to pay for the higher raises, but Carmichael questioned those numbers.
“This requires analysis and thought, not reactionary behavior to protesters,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael, prior to caucusing with Republicans Wednesday evening, speculated that as many as 20 of the 22 Republicans in the 34 member Senate would oppose the governor’s new pay plan.
For weeks, Carmichael and Justice were on the same page on the pay raise. It was Carmichael who whipped his caucus to support Justice’s initial plan to raise teacher pay by one percent a year for the next five years.
But now Carmichael is critical of how the Governor flipped on the issue after taking heat during three town hall meetings with teachers on Monday.
“The Governor had a difficult meeting with some teachers. He came back and the following day proposed a 150 percent increase in the teacher pay raise that had already been enacted the previous week,” Carmichael said.
“For someone (the Governor) to just hastily come in a say ‘Oh my Gosh. There’s people mad. We have to give pay raises,’ that is not the proper way to fiscally manage this state. That’s what’s been done for too long in the past,” Carmichael said.