Posted: 07/02/15 11:17
by Dave Mindeman
It would seem that the MN Republicans are going to have an election discussion about Gov. Dayton's push for increases in Commissioner salaries. But if they insist on doing that, then let's make sure we have all the facts.
1. If the GOP was so concerned about this, why did they allow a window (July 1st) for the governor to do it? In fact, they legislated it that way (the House GOP voted for it). Why didn't they just slam the door entirely early in the session - they had that option. Heck, they even had Bakk's support.
2. From a StarTribune article: Before the increases, Minnesota commissioners were making less than their counterparts in most states, according to an analysis by Minnesota Management and Budget from data compiled by the Council of State Governments. Fourteen of 15 commissioners were paid at or below the 50th percentile; eight were below the 25th percentile. The raises push Minnesota salaries above the median.
The comparison with other states shows that Minnesota has been lagging far behind other states in paying people for "executive" type positions. It took these large raises to catch up - and now that the legislature has taken back control of these salaries, there won't be any further raises for the foreseeable future.
3. Direct comparisons with our neighbors were not favorable either.
North Dakota had at least 10 cabinet-level positions that paid more than Minnesota commissioners before the raises and six jobs that will still be paid more than in Minnesota. Most Wisconsin commissioners were paid slightly more than Minnesota's before the Dayton raises but now would be paid less.
4. The Republican strategy is clear. Even though Dayton is not on the ballot and it was his decision to raise the salaries, Daudt attempts to blame the DFL legislators for this government "failure" - even though the vote on the parameters by which Dayton acted was completely bipartisan.
Frankly, I think Dayton showed tremendous courage to go ahead with these planned increases. We will attract highly competent people to do this important work and solidify the salaries for the future. Future governors (Republican or Democrat) will thank him for it.
The most important takeaway from this is that the MN GOP compares these raises to the "hard working" Minnesota families who don't have the opportunity for such raises....the same MN GOP that fought and continues to fight increases in the minimum wage....and promotes tax relief for the wealthy which the middle class has to pay for.
The Republican hypocrisy in all this is the true election issue.