Governor, top politicians expected to get pay bump

For only the second time in two decades, salary increases are likely on the way for Minnesota’s top political leaders.

In a letter delivered to legislative leaders last week, a bipartisan council recommended back-to-back wage increases for the Governor, district judges, and constitutional officers. It would be the first increase for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, and Secretary of State since 2015.

"It shouldn’t be the case that you can only do the job if you’re independently wealthy," said Senator Erin Murphy (DFL- St. Paul). "We want bright, committed Minnesotans to fill these spaces and salary does play a part depending on where you are in your life."

Since 2003, there’s been only one salary increase – 2.5% in 2015. The governor currently makes around $127,000 a year, with Minnesota ranking 37th in the country for gubernatorial salary.

Republican Senator John Jasinski said he wants to see much of the state’s more than $17 Billion budget surplus returned to everyday Minnesotans, before discussing a pay bump for top officeholders.

"I don’t see it on the private side, so we shouldn’t be seeing it on the public side," said Sen. Jasinski (R – Faribault) who said wage increases have largely stalled for working people, amid rising inflation. "Give us some relief back to the taxpayers and after that let’s talk about what we can do with the rest."

The recommendation is expected to be included in budget bills and passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature.

A spokesperson for Governor Tim Walz said he would be declining the increase. "The Governor values public service and believes state officials should be paid fairly. Because the Governor appoints members of the council and would sign the bill, he would not take this salary increase," she said in a statement.