State Senators Take Good First StepSTATE SENATORS TAKE GOOD FIRST STEP
State GOP Head Says Bipartisan Reform Possible With Courage
Charleston, WV – On Wednesday, the West Virginia State Senate voted 33-0 in favor of beginning the process of addressing the massive challenges posed to West Virginians by our deeply indebted pension system.
“I congratulate members of both parties in the State Senate for starting the long process of curing our pension nightmare,” said West Virginia Republican Chair Mike Stuart. “Fixing the OPEB crisis is tough politically. It takes courage because there is no easy fix. We can solve this long-standing problem if we work together. This was a good first step.”
Stuart continued, “It is too bad the teacher’s union is criticizing our State Senators unanimous action. We are in a crisis with our public pension system and the teacher’s union thinks the fix is someone else’s responsibility.”
“We agree with Democrat Senator Brooks McCabe that “The teacher’s union is always saying, “Fixing the pension crisis can wait until next year. We need our pay increase.” The reality is that next year is now. We cannot wait any longer to address the OPEB crisis and government workers are going to have to partner with us and participate in the fix,” said Stuart.
“The teacher’s union only seems to want pay raises, not reforms,” Stuart continued. They got a massive pay raise this year and, I promise you, they will be back next year asking for more money. It is their annual pilgrimage – asking for an annual raise. Tens of millions of dollars in pay raises. 10.3% unemployment. Really? I guaranty that this time next year we will again be talking about pay raises. You can set your clock to it.”
“West Virginia does not have a surplus. We are drowning in debt. Saying we have a surplus is akin to having $10 in your wallet, a $1 million mortgage, and thinking your rich. That dog don’t hunt,” said Stuart.
“We support teachers. The teacher’s union supports the teacher’s union. We want to work with teachers and the union to offer real reforms because our kids deserve better schools. We can work together," concluded Stuart. "Incentive pay, merit bonuses, locality pay, making it easier to fire bad teachers, charter schools – why won’t the teacher’s union partner with us to fix the schools? If they would, their union would grow and be larger because our economy would grow too.”
###Paid for by the WV Republican Party