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ST. PAUL – Nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars will be used to provide the governor’s commissioners with pay raises thanks to an action taken by Governor Dayton in January.
State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) called the maneuver outrageous and added that it sends a poor message to hardworking Minnesotans.
“No commissioner asked for a raise, and I doubt many people in southern Minnesota would consider them underpaid,” Gunther said. “Most commissioners I’ve known have taken the job because they feel honored to serve and not because of the salary they’re being given.”
Last session a Democratic-controlled legislature approved a bill giving Governor Dayton the authority to change the limit on commissioners’ salaries without legislative or public approval. Gunther voted no on this proposal because most commissioners are already making more than $100,000 per year.
Specifically, the changes allowed the limit on salaries for commissioners to move from 85 or 95 percent of the governor's salary to 133 percent.
Thanks to the Governor’s action, 30 members of his cabinet are receiving mammoth pay raises. Several will receive an additional $36,000 per year, while the salary for the head of the Metropolitan Council will jump from $58,499 to $144,991.
Gunther said it’s disappointing to see the governor give away money to his friends while many families have seen their budgets decrease.
“Maybe we should be giving some consideration to the people who are paying the state’s bills before we hand out ridiculous raises in the administration,” Gunther said. “Surely we could have found better things to do with $800,000 than to permanently increase the salaries of the governor’s staff.”
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