Solutions for West Virginia Teacher Strike - 2018
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Currently, West Virginia teachers in all 55 counties are striking due to rising health insurance costs and low pay. The work stoppage affects teachers, students, parents, and the efficient functioning of a day to day operations of an educational system. We would like to see this situation resolved. Here is the proposal that we ask for teachers, service personnel, public employees, and citizens to sign. These specific ideas are a framework we would like to take to members of the legislature:
1. Reverse PEIA changes to pre 2014-2015 coverage: We propose the legislature approve a measure that would have PEIA revert to its policies from the 2014-2015 fiscal year until a long-term solution can be found. We want a commitment to find a dedicated revenue stream for PEIA into the future and the flexibility to meet the increasing costs of medical care.
2. Investigate PEIA fraud and eliminate wasteful spending: Wasteful spending occurs at all levels of government, and we would ask the legislature to find misuse and abuse of funds, which would contribute to long term savings.
3. Increase taxes on alcohol and / or tobacco products: We propose increasing the sales tax on alcohol 6% to 7.5%. We propose increasing the excise tax on beer production from $5.50 per 31 gallon barrel to $6.00 per 31 gallon barrel. This particular excise tax has not changed since 1951. We propose an increase on cigarettes from $1.20 per pack to $1.75 per pack.
4. Provide public employees with a 3% raise this year, 1% the following year, and 1% the next year: Teacher pay in West Virginia ranks 48th out of 50 states. In 2014, the legislature made a goal to increase starting pay of a teacher to $43,000 by 2019. No action has been taken with regard to this particular goal.
5. Drop punitive bills aimed at weakening teacher unions: The legislature has bills drafted that would eliminate teacher seniority, require annual permission from teachers before unions could draft dues, and lowering standards for teacher certification. These bills will not help the education system in West Virginia.
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