Minnesota Republican lawmakers called on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday to hand out only modest cost-of-living raises to his state commissioners, but they predicted those pay raises will be much higher.
Dayton says he plans to give his department chiefs more money on July 1, although he hasn’t said how much.
In January, Dayton OK’d a total $802,000 in salary increases for 26 commissioners and department heads. After heavy criticism from lawmakers, he agreed to scale back the pay hikes but only after the Legislature agreed to give him the option of raising their pay on July 1.
The proposed raises have been controversial since then with the plan coming under fire from members of both parties.
Senate Republican Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie noted that earlier this year, Dayton proposed up to a 30 percent pay increase for some commissioners.
“Thirty percent is exorbitant. It is a waste of taxpayer money, it is not needed and it should not be done,” he told reporters Tuesday at the Capitol.
Hann called on the governor to “be reasonable” and said a more appropriate raise would be around 2.5 percent — roughly the increase state employees recently negotiated as part of their employment contracts.
After Dayton announces new salaries, the authority to increase department head pay will go back to the Legislature.