WASHINGTON — Virginia teachers and state workers who missed out on raises this year because of a massive budget shortfall would get one-time bonuses next December under budget amendments Gov. Terry McAuliffe will propose Friday.
The governor will propose a 1.5 percent bonus for teachers, state workers and state-supported local employees. McAuliffe also hopes to address salary compression so that employees with more experience who work for the Virginia State Police, sheriff’s offices and regional jails earn appropriately more than new hires.
All told, it would cost the state $130.6 million next December.
“We would like to see this not as bonuses but as full-time pay raises. But the budget isn’t where we need it to be to do that yet,” McAuliffe said on Richmond radio station WRVA.
He said the $55.5 million he is proposing for bonuses for teachers would not require local school systems to match the money.
The General Assembly will take up the budget amendments when it convenes in January. McAuliffe presents his proposals to the money committees this Friday morning.
“We’re done with the decision-making; it’s gone to the printer, and we’ll roll it out on Friday,” he said.
McAuliffe said he is proposing no cuts to K-12 education, but he suggested there could be cuts to higher education, among other reductions across state government as part of efforts to close a budget gap that is estimated to top $1 billion.
“I’ve met with all the college presidents on higher education. And I’ve told them — you know, you can go in your institutions, you can find fat that needs to be cut. Everybody can do it. You have to do it in business. You just don’t keep adding. Everybody can tighten the belt,” McAuliffe said.
In addition to cuts for various state agencies, McAuliffe is also hoping a tax amnesty period next year could help close the budget gap.
He said a 60- to 75-day period of amnesty from fines and fees could bring in about $59 million in one-time tax revenue.
Virginia has offered similar amnesty programs three times since 1990, McAuliffe said.