Striking Teachers, Legislators Mull Severance Tax Fix

CHARLESTON, WV - "We're not going to take it any more," the teachers sang.

West Virginia teachers, protesters at the Capitol on Day four of their statewide strike. But many are liking the proposal by Governor Justice, to fully fund the PEIA health insurance plan for state workers by raising the severance tax on natural gas.

"Well we're sitting here on a lot of money on West Virginia, and we would like our Governor to take that into consideration. That we want that gas taxed to pay for PEIA," said Summer Drake, a Kanawha County teacher.

"We just deserve respect. For so long teachers have been disrespected and put down and we're sick of it," said Andrea Sloan, a Kanawha County teacher.

But some Republicans were caught off guard by Governor Justice's call for a special session of the legislature.

"I can tell you that it frustrates me. We're here for 60-days and to propose as special session, while we're still in session, is crazy," said State Sen. Mike Maroney, (R) Marshall.

While some Democrats like the Governor's idea of raising the severance tax, they don't any huge concessions to help the fossil fuel industry.

"The last thing we should do is give it to them like we gave coal away decades ago. We are standing at a point of history, right now, where we can finally do something  with the resources underneath our feet to benefit our people," said State Sen. Richard Ojeda, (D) Logan.

"While the protesting goes on, the time is running out, After today there are just 11 legislative days left in this session to get these issues resolved," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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