House Minority Whip Mike Caputo expressed outrage today that Senate President Mitch Carmichael has refused to immediately take action on the proposed 5 percent pay raise for teachers, service personnel and state troopers passed by the House of Delegates on Wednesday.
“Instead of taking the necessary steps to respond to this call for action from these public employees and help end this strike, Senator Carmichael called the pay raise proposal ‘frivolous and ridiculous,’ ” Caputo, D-Marion, said. “I find his statement to be frivolous and ridiculous, not to mention incredibly insulting to our hard-working teachers, service personnel and state police.”
After receiving a revised revenue forecast for the 2019 fiscal year that increased General Revenue Fund collections by $58 million, the House of Delegates on Wednesday evening passed House Bill 4145, which provides an average 5 percent raise, by a 98-1 vote.
“The Senate should have stayed in session Wednesday evening to receive the bill, which the House had quickly adopted as soon as the new revenue numbers were available, and immediately begun work on it,” Caputo said. “Instead, no action was taken Wednesday night, or even throughout the day Thursday, leaving teachers and school service personnel no choice but to continue their strike.”
Earlier this week, Carmichael told a WVNews reporter that the public employees demonstrating at the Capitol and expressing their frustrations were being “disrespectful” to the legislative process and should go back to work.
“The only disrespect being displayed at the Statehouse right now is coming from Mitch Carmichael and his Republican leadership team,” Caputo said. “They continue to be dismissive of the extremely valid and urgent concerns of our teachers and other public employees while still pushing tax cuts for wealthy corporations and legislation that hurts working families.
“I don’t know if such indifference toward working people could ever be forgiven, but the very least the Senate Republicans can do now is move quickly to get that pay raise bill passed, so we can next focus on adopting a state budget that includes meaningful pay raises for other state employees.”