|CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice held a signing ceremony today for four bills passed by the West Virginia Legislature. The first bill was HB 2024, the $4.874 billion Fiscal Year 2024 budget that was passed by the West Virginia Legislature. “I thank Speaker Hanshaw, President Blair and all of the Legislators upstairs, because they did good work,” Gov. Justice said. “I especially thank my cabinet and my team for their hard work. This is an incredible day. We have really looked after the store. We have not frivolously thrown away money and this outcome is really, really good.”Some of the surplus items included in the Budget Bill:Posey Perry Emergency Food Bank Fund – $10 millionCommunities In Schools – $5 millionTourism – $67 millionSchool Building Authority – $40 millionGovernor’s Nursing Workforce Expansion Program – $20 millionJobs and Hope – $1.6 millionEMS WV: Answer the Call program – $10 millionWV Land Stewardship Corporation for Dilapidated Structures – $1.5 millionWV Schools for the Deaf and Blind – $500,000 for Fire Truck with boomIncome Tax Reserve Fund – $400 millionNew Consolidated State Lab – $125 millionWV School of Osteopathic Medicine – $29 millionWVU National Cancer Institute – $50 millionDeferred maintenance, jails and colleges – $282 million|
|The second bill, SB 423, increases the salary for state employees for a fourth year since Gov. Justice took office. The pay raise applies to all state employees, teachers, service personnel, and the West Virginia State Police. This bill passed unanimously in both chambers.|
“You remember way back when we did a 5% pay raise? It was the biggest pay raise percentage-wise in the history of the state,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve done four of them now, and I hope to goodness before I’m gone, we’ll be able to do one more because I know the job you do. I know what you do. I know how hard you work every day.”
|The third bill, SB 268, sets the minimum reimbursement rate for PEIA to 110% of Medicare’s reimbursement rates, and sets cost-sharing at 20% for in-state benefits and 30% for out-of-state benefits. Furthermore, the bill requires PEIA to return to 80/20 cost sharing between employers and employees by July 1, 2023.|
“This is a permanent fix for something that we started for a long time,” Gov. Justice said. “We could have continued to keep kicking the can down the road. But this stops that. This is moving in the right direction. You have the assurance that when you go home at night, you won’t have to depend on the hope of having surpluses. This fixes it, and this doesn’t go away.”
|The fourth bill Gov. Justice signed, HB 3307, establishes the West Virginia-Ireland Trade Commission to advance trade, investments, academic exchanges, and other matters as determined by the commission. |
The bill takes effect today, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, and was signed by the Governor and Legislature with a green ink pen.
“This is one step forward to working with Ireland and, of all places, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “This will allow us to drive more and more business and visitors back and forth between us. This is really, really good stuff.”