Proposed State Budget Includes Teacher, Police Raises

richmondbeatsqaureBy Morgan White
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia teachers, state troopers and other state employees would all receive pay raises thanks to a state budget agreement moving toward approval in the General Assembly.

Teachers would see a 1.5 percent pay raise while State Police officers and other state employees would receive a 2 percent increase under the conference report crafted over the weekend by House and Senate negotiators seeking to amend the state’s 2014-16 budget. Final votes may be held as early as Thursday, General Assembly leaders announced Monday.

Sen. John Watkins, R-Chesterfield, said Virginia was fortunate to have thousands of committed state employees whose day-to-day work is integral to the efficient and effective operation of government.

“This conference report provides them with a well-deserved pay raise and includes funding to address compression for senior employees. It is my hope that this budget shows we are just as committed to them as they are to Virginia.” Watkins said.

The final budget conference report will be put on members’ desks and online Tuesday morning, allowing for a 48-hour review period that House and Senate leaders established as a goal earlier in the session. The report:

  • Includes a $129.5 million prepayment to the state’s rainy-day fund, which would restore the balance to $429 million
  • Provides $153.5 million in funding for a comprehensive compensation package for state employees, State Police officers, state-supported local employees, teachers and college faculty
  • Includes $42 million in additional funding for higher education
  • Spends about $1 billion less in general funds than the two-year budget originally adopted last year
  • Eliminates $11.7 million in fees proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (including restaurant inspection and saltwater fishing license fees)

The negotiators included Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Chairman S. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Jones and Stosch issued a joint statement saying, “Since the end of last summer’s budget stalemate, we have sought to develop a new sense of collaboration and candor in the budget process. We worked together to adopt a supplemental budget last fall, taking unprecedented action to protect our state’s AAA bond rating during a period of deep uncertainty.”

They said they hoped the agreement can gain broad, bipartisan support in both chambers.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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