Vote to roll back pay increases kills Gov. Dayton's trust in DFL leadership

At the beginning of the year, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton used a newly-passed law to raise the salary of his commissioners. Some cabinet members received raises of $35,000, and their salaries now add up to nearly $155,000 a year.

Thursday morning, Gov. Dayton defended the raises, calling it the "right thing to do."

"No one has ever asked me for a raise," Dayton said. "I just know it's the right thing to do. I know it's necessary and I want them to work hard and stay in public service for the next three and a half years. And I'm willing to do what is right to make that possible."

But the raises infuriated Republicans, who were expected to the salary debate the day's main topic on the Senate floor. But Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) beat them to the punch, introducing an amendment to roll back the raises until July 1.

"I mean, knowledge is power and I do think people will come to the conclusion that the raises were warranted, but right now they just don't have all the information so they come to that assessment," Bakk said, calling for a hearing to explore the pay raises.

But the move infuriated the governor, who vowed to veto any bill that rolls back the raises. Dayton said he's now in a terrible position that both DFL leaders are working against him, and the only leader he now trusts is Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt.

"It's a brutal lesson to me that I cannot trust him," Dayton said, referring to Bakk.


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