The Legislature on Sunday approved a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that outlines $10 billion in state spending, including $3.7 billion from general revenue.

The budget contains at least $73 million worth of raises: 3.5 percent more for teachers and school service personnel, $2,000 across-the-board for corrections officers and juvenile services workers, and 3.5 percent for most other state employees.

Those eligible for the latter raise will get at least $600 but no more than $1,200 — leaving those earning more than $34,286 annually a pay hike below 3.5 percent.

Lawmakers said the range ensures fairer raises between high and low ends of the salary spectrum.

Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, said the state’s regional jail agency has said it will follow suit and offer pay raises as well. The regional jails get most of their funding from fees paid by county and local governments.

The Legislature later voted to extend the 3.5 percent pay raise to state troopers, acting on a bill from Gov. Joe Manchin during a brief Sunday special session. As the State Police rely on a specific salary schedule in state law, giving them the raise required the legislation.

But the state budget does not include $779,010 proposed earlier for conservation officer raises, after the necessary legislation failed to pass.

The teacher pay raises only increased the lion’s share of the budget consumed by public schools: $1.86 billion in spending, or 47.5 percent of general revenue and 18 percent of all lottery revenue.

Public education funding also reflects an adjusted school aid formula (SB541) approved during the session. The change aims to leave counties with $16.4 million more for supplementing teacher pay and other needs.

Senate Education Chairman Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, said the formula change should satisfy a recent state Supreme Court ruling while ensuring needed funding for county libraries.

The bill spends $146 million more in general revenue than last year’s bill, a 4 percent increase. Supplemental spending measures will likely change the final difference.

New spending includes $10 million for the higher education Research Challenge program, $1.5 million for a Marlinton flood wall project, $650,000 to improve 4-H camps and $500,000 for the Hatfield McCoy Recreational Trail.

The Legislature also added $306,000 for a new Division of Energy created during the session, $150,000 for the West Virginia Elder Watch program and $75,000 for threat preparedness at the Department of Agriculture.

Lawmakers adopted Gov. Joe Manchin’s proposal for $33 million for the Higher Education Grant Program. But the final budget does not deposit $117 million into a state reserve fund. Lawmakers expect that revenue to come from the planned sale of bonds secured by tobacco settlement payments.

The Legislature also cut the $4 million increase the governor requested to expand state public defender offices.

The House passed the budget 84-6 with nine absences. Of those absent, two paired votes for the bill with two votes against. None of those paired votes counted in the roll call.

With one absence, the Senate’s vote was unanimous.

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