McAuliffe Proposes Two Percent Pay Raise for State Employees - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

McAuliffe Proposes Two Percent Pay Raise for State Employees

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The governor wants to raise teacher pay, invest in mental health and create a fund for fallen firefighters and police officers, but all of it depends on whether he can get Republicans to agree to expanding Medicaid. The governor wants to raise teacher pay, invest in mental health and create a fund for fallen firefighters and police officers, but all of it depends on whether he can get Republicans to agree to expanding Medicaid.
RICHMOND (WRIC) - Lawmakers are back in town trying to reach a deal and pass a budget. Monday, the governor came out with a proposed budget he's hoping can get the ball rolling.

The governor wants to raise teacher pay, invest in mental health and create a fund for fallen firefighters and police officers, but all of it depends on whether he can get Republicans to agree to expanding Medicaid.

"Together we have an opportunity to put partisanship aside and pass a budget that makes Virginia, a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous place to both live and work," Gov. McAuliffe.

His budget proposal calls for a two percent pay raise for state employees, including K-12 teachers and college and university faculty, $8.9 million for mental health and $17 million for the line of duty act, a fund for fallen police officers and firefighters.

But the proposal hinges on expanding the federal program to insure low income individuals and families.

Delegate Tag Greason says Medicaid expansion is complex, and getting it wrong could cost the state millions.

"I want to bring those dollars back, it's the right thing to do morally, and it is the right thing to do economically," he says. "They do not want us to expand Obamacare unless we've actually thought through it.  How do we possibly think we could do a compromise to this level in such a short period of time?"

Political analyst Richard Meagher says there are a couple of reasons republicans are resistant.

"They're concerned that the federal government isn't going to back up its promises or that somehow the program will become more expensive," he says. "It will cost Virginia money."

He says it could also cost them if it looks like they support Obamacare.

"For Republicans to say sure we'll take money as part of this Obamacare program, they think is damaging to them politically."

But in an effort to get the ball moving, the governor has proposed a two year pilot program to expand Medicaid, one he says the state can back out of at any time. It's a proposal republicans say they're at least willing to listen to.

It might provide some political cover for Republicans who really want to do this deal, but can't because they feel like they might be attacked within their district," Meagher says. "It will cost less money over time, and that the federal government has basically guaranteed that they're going to fund the program."


Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond


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