The Dominion Post  

Justice and state legislators push for moratorium on PEIA changes

Created on:   Thu, Feb 8, 2018   2:43 PM

Last modified:   Thu, Feb 8, 2018   2:44 PM

The Dominion Post

CHARLESTON β€” Gov. Jim Justice came before the press on Feb. 8 to reaffirm the message that had gone out in previous days: that he and the Legislature are pushing for a moratorium on the proposed premium and benefit changes to PEIA, and for teacher raises spread across five years.

Flanked by Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, at the afternoon press conference, Justice said the proposed 17-month moratorium will spare teachers and other state employees the burden of increased expenses while a permanent fix is worked out. The cost to the state to put off the changes will be about $29 million. Justice said $6.5 million of that is already built into the budget.

Justice conceded that the PEIA Finance Board has to approve the proposal, but he’s convinced it will.

Justice also said he remains committed to his proposed raise plan for teachers, service workers and State Police β€” 1 percent per year for five years β€” as the most prudent at this time: where the state is just turning a financial corner and nothing is certain.

The House Finance Committee had announced on Feb. 7 that is increased the proposed raise to 2 percent the first year, and Armstead the House continues to lean that way, but working out differences is part of the legislative process.