Lawmakers Pass Raises For Public Employees

State lawmakers passed a new budget over the weekend which ends a week of closed-door negotiations among the House, Senate and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The negotiations end with a 2015 balanced budget, as the law requires. It takes $147.5 million from the state's $922 million Rainy Day Fund to cover a projected shortfall. The plan includes $1,000 across-the-board raises for teachers, 2 percent raises for school service personnel and $504 raises for public employees. Officials say starting teacher salaries need to be more competitive with West Virginia's neighboring states.