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MN lege: Speaker Daudt grandstands on pay raise

by Dan Burns on March 16, 2017 · 1 comment

minnesota_state_capitolMaybe the GOP legislature could use some of the budget surplus to help out “school kids or senior citizens, the disability community” instead of looking to blow big chunks of it, yet again, on handouts for the rich man.
 

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Tuesday he is having legislative legal and human resources staff examine whether a hefty pay raise for lawmakers is truly binding or if the Legislature can summarily turn it down.
 
The raise takes lawmaker salaries from about $31,000 to $45,000 beginning in July, a 45 percent jump that the Legislative Salary Council framed as a catch-up for years of stagnant pay…
 
“Think about if this is binding on us, it means I have to give, or we have to give legislators a pay increase when we can’t give that same kind of pay increase to school kids or senior citizens, the disability community, you pick your interest group that is frankly deserving of some increase,” Daudt said. “That’s the tough position it puts us in.”
(MPR)

In recent years, the low pay has made it more likely that people able and willing to be in the legislature have been financially independent, or retirees with solid pensions. That group on the whole tends to be conservative Republicans. Reasonable compensation could well produce higher interest in running among eager, high-energy, and just generally smart and impressive young progressives, and that is Daudt’s real concern.
 
The right-wing likes of Speaker Daudt have no idea how readily intelligent people see right through them. One sees manifestations of that all the time, among conservative politicians.
 
Comment below fold.
 

Comments
 
From Mac Hall: QUESTION : If they had voted to raise the pay from the current $31,140 to … let’s say … $100 a year since their last raise — 1999 … so for simple math, it be under $33,000 … would Daudt still bellyache ? You know the answer is yes.
 
A couple of things to consider, this recommendation was approved by Council members by a vote of 13-1. Kenneth Wilmes was the lone vote against it … Ken Wilmes is a Republican from the Mankato area … and since the board was established with 8 Republicans, doesn’t that suggest at least some thought it was a fair wage ?
 
OK … so we are gonna pay a “part-time” legislator $45,000 … and we know that they spend a lot of that “part-time” work outside of the legislative session in various working groups and committees throughout the year. Now, as a comparison, did you realize that Erik Paulsen is essentially a small business owner … he has a Congressional Staff of maybe 13 full-time people …. (plus others who are “shared” employees. Wanna guess how many of them have an annual salary more than $45,000 ? How about ten ! And we really won’t know about Christmas/YearEnd bonuses — because the #MathGuy does not issue a press release — but a number of them got $4,000 to $5,000 bumps in pay during the fourth quarter.
 
I know that you cannot compare the a federal job with a state legislator job but when Paulsen is paying the person who answers the telephone to tell you that “Congressman Paulsen does not hold town hall meetings but if you would like me to schedule him to visit your child’s school, I can help you” — essentially same amount as a Minnesota legislator, there is a problem.
 
Ok … a couple of thoughts here …
1. Daudt and any other Member can simply send a check back to the state for increase … believe it or not but Tim Walz has returned the last salary increase that Congress awarded for years … retired Congressman Chris Gibson didn’t think it was right for him to get a military pension plus a Congressional salary, so he donated his pension pay … and Elise Stefanik pays back the “subsidy” she gets for her “Gold” level ACA plan (hey, it’s not much just $251.18/mo)
2. If they are concerned about the compensation, simply reduce the size of the state legislature. Why not consider a unicameral legislature … take out 134 state reps at $31,140 and increase the pay for the State Senators.
 

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