Last week, we heard news that Governor Dayton handed out double-digit tax payer funded pay raises to members of his cabinet. Most of his commissioners were already earning six-figure salaries. The pay raises range from 19% to 58% and it has been reported that the raises could cost taxpayers as much as $1.4 million over the biennium. One such appointee is receiving an $84,000 raise from last year’s salary.
The governor was given the authority to unilaterally give political appointees a pay raise thanks to a law that was passed in 2013 by the Democrat led legislature. This change allowed the limit on salaries for commissioners to move from 85 or 95 percent of the governor’s salary to 133 percent of his salary. This law also gave the governor the authority to raise the pay of his commissioners without legislative or public approval.
It’s outrageous that at a time when take-home pay for families remains flat and some Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet—the governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees that are already making six figure, tax payer funded, salaries.
My colleagues and I have begun the process of looking into ways we can reign in the governor’s power and ensure that a unilateral move to increase pay for his commissioners will not happen again. Stay tuned for more information from me or my office on this issue.
Bills Clear Committee
On Tuesday, a bill that I am authoring, House File 531, was heard by the Government Operations and Elections Committee. This bill, which has bipartisan support and is endorsed by the League of Minnesota Cities, Inter-County Association, and the School Boards Association is aimed at streamlining the process through which contractors can file for exemptions and tax refunds on materials purchased for work on certain qualifying projects. Construction projects that include work done on public schools, hospitals, public infrastructure, and publically owned buildings are just a handful of the types of entities that would qualify under this bill. I am happy to report that this bill passed out of committee and has been referred to the Tax Committee.
On Wednesday, another bill that I am authoring was heard and passed out of the Commerce Committee. House File 123 would require the state lottery to add warnings to all advertising and promotional material.
The Minneota Friends of the Library’s “Chocolate Affair” is set to take place this Saturday at the Minneota Legion. This event benefits the Friends of the Library. The evening will feature a DeVos Catered meal, chocolates of every kind to sample, a silent auction of items, and fine music provided by the Route 68 Big Band (the Minneota Community Jazz Band).
I highly encourage you all to attend this great event.
I would also like to invite any readers who want to have their events advertised in my weekly email update to please let my office know. I am happy to include your event in my update as long as it is open to the public.
Thank you to the constituents and groups that came to St. Paul to visit this past week. It was great to meet with you all!
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Have a great weekend,