Dayton's raises for state employees prompts renewed fireworks at Capitol

Senate Republicans aren't fans of a deal Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt reached with Gov. Mark Dayton regarding the pay raises Dayton wants to give to state commissioners.

The deal gives the governor a one-day window -- July 1 -- to reinstate the roughly $800,000 in raises, including five commissioners who stand to have their salaries boosted by more than $35,000.

Backstory -- EXPLAINER: Compromise on pay raises for Gov. Dayton's commissioners

On average, Republicans say the raises average out to a 27 percent salary increase for the top state employees.

Regarding that figure, Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) says, "How many of you at home have seen a 27 percent increase in your pay overnight?"

"I believe the commissioners do a good job," he adds. "That doesn't mean we need to gouge the taxpayers of Minnesota."

But the chief supporter of Daudt's deal in the Senate, Sen. Richard Cohen (D-St. Paul), defended the raises.

"This legislature has lost staff members of extreme competence who've gone to local government because of the salary scale," Cohen says.

While the deal rolls back Dayton's raises, it also gives him that one-day window to reinstate them, and that's what infuriates many Senate Republicans.

Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) says, "I think that the voters of this state are paying attention to what we are doing here and this bill, this particular bill represents everything that they hate about us in St. Paul."

Nonetheless, the bill overwhelming passed in the House and is now on its way to Dayton's desk.

He's expected to sign it, but you can rest assured this issue will be a part of a lot of campaign material in the next election cycle.


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