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Hefty pay raises for state commissioners draw fire from Republicans

Big pay raises for state commissioners, many in the $25,000 to $35,000 per year range, have been granted by Gov. Dayton.

Not unexpectedly, some Republicans are irate.

Until recently, the commissioners’ pay had been capped and had to stay below the governor’s pay rate; those caps were raised when DFLers controlled both houses.

Gov. Dayton made the raises effective Jan. 5, and notified legislative officials this week. His office called the raises essential to keep top talent.

Pay for the commissioners of transportation, revenue, public safety, natural resources, management and budget and human services is now $154,992. Others receive less.

WCCO-TV has a .pdf of the state’s letter listing the new salaries.

House Republicans have a comparison of the new salaries with last year’s.

State Rep. Roz Peterson, a Republican from Lakeville, attacked the increases, saying they’ll amount to an additional $700,000 cost to taxpayers:

“At a time when take-home pay for families remains flat and some Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet, it’s outrageous that the Governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees already making six-figure salaries…

“Minnesotans are going to be asking: ‘Is this really necessary?’ I believe the answer is no.Minnesotans want government to spend taxpayer dollars wisely—these pay raises are wasteful and will be examined closely by the legislature in the coming weeks.”

The Minnesota Jobs Coalition doesn’t like it either. It’s President Mark Drake said in a statement:

“With his irresponsible decision to award massive pay raises to his political appointees, Mark Dayton has once again demonstrated just how out of touch he is with Minnesotans. “

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