We learned late last week that Governor Dayton gave double-digit pay raises to his commissioners and other political appointees. The increase could cost the state more than $1.4 million over the biennium. Most of the governor’s commissioners were already making six-figure, tax-payer funded salaries. These pay raises range from 19% to 58% with one of his appointees receiving an $84,000 raise from the previous year’s salary. It is upsetting that the governor would hand out pay raises for executives in charge of state agencies that are currently cutting programs, services, and hours for employees due to mismanagement of already massive taxpayer funded budgets.
The governor’s ability to unilaterally give raises to his members of his cabinet is the result of a bill passed by the DFL led legislature back in 2013. This law allows the limit on salaries for commissioners to move from 85 or 95 percent of the governor’s salary to 133 percent of his salary. It also allows the governor to raise the pay of the commissioners without legislative or public approval. What’s more is that the governor increased the salaries at the beginning of January but the legislature was not notified of the change until February 4th.
My colleagues and I have already begun the process of addressing the governor’s actions. On Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee considered and passed an amendment to remove $40,000 from three departments’ requests for additional funding and to allocate the reduction to the commissioner salaries. Also, Rep. Roz Peterson has introduced a bill to require legislative approval for executive branch salary increases.
At a time when take-home pay for families remains flat for many, it is outrageous that the governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees already making six-figure salaries. Stay tuned for more updates as this story continues to develop.
Land Acquisition Issues
I am continuing my work with the DNR, Governor, and colleagues at the legislature to find solutions to many of the land acquisition issues that are occurring in our District. As I mentioned in my previous update, I have introduced a handful of bills aimed at keeping more land in the hands of citizens and not state agencies. My office and I will keep you up-to-date as more information becomes available.
I am working on finalizing a schedule for town hall meetings that will be taking place in March. Once a date, time, and locations are set, I will make sure to let you know. I always look forward to town halls and the opportunity to talk with you about the issues that matter most to you and your family.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have a question or comment about a piece of legislation or a state agency. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9918 or via email at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend,