CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It was a busy day at the State Capitol, as West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed four bills into law. The governor says this was one of the most productive legislative sessions in state history.
The governor received the most applause for a bill that gives every state employee a $2,300 raise, even though some of that will be lost to PEIA health insurance premium increases, which he also signed. And on this Saint Patrick’s Day, the governor also signed a trade agreement between West Virginia and the nation of Ireland.
The ink is now dry on the state’s $4.8 billion dollar budget. Governor Justice says the biggest bill, was the one that cuts everyone’s personal income taxes 21% this year.
“$750 million put back in your hands. What are you likely to do with it? Spend it! All of us are very likely to do that. When we spend it, it starts turning and churning,” said Justice, referring to the multiplier effect of mass spending.
But there are critics. The state’s labor unions say the PEIA increase will wipe out most of the pay increase. They and many Democrats in the legislature were opposed.
The governor says rebates on car taxes, combined with the tax cut and pay increase, will offset the impact of PEIA health insurance hikes for most public employees. In short, he calls it a net gain.