Archived Story

Bump for Minnesota senators a good call [UPDATED]

Published 9:26am Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Updated 11:44am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Minnesota Senate voted narrowly in favor of a hefty salary increase for state senators Tuesday, and while this hasn’t exactly been accepted with open arms by much of the public, we think there is merit to the increase.

Opponents of the bill might ask what senators did to warrant a 33 percent raise. The short answer is, “nothing.” This salary increase has nothing to do with productivity, experience or quality of work, like many of us are familiar with in the workplace.

The reason state senators will receive a salary bump from $31,000 to $42,000 is to make the job more appealing to a wider range of qualified residents.

With the time commitment required to be a state senator, it is impossible to work a job with regular daytime hours. For this reason, most of the elected officials who represent Minnesota’s districts are retirees or people who choose their own hours. This forces a skewed representation of the state’s population.

The salary increase is significant enough to not only entice potentially better, more qualified candidates to run for the position, but also create a more balanced representation of Minnesota.

While it’s easy to gripe about a government entity giving itself a raise during tough economic times, we understand the reasoning behind the decision and approve.

  • jensen55

    It’s REALLY sad that the people working for the government get the big raises!! You shouldn’t have to ATTRACT more people to government jobs,there should be LESS in government & MORE people actually working,doing something productive,making a product for the AMERICAN people. Government has gotten way too big for it’s britches,time to bring them all back down to reality!! Term limits would be ONE WAY to get America back on it’s feet.New people are needed,new ideas are needed & it can’t be done by having the SAME people in office,year after year,after year!!!!

    • Walt Henry

      Strong on passion, weak on the facts. When was the last time state legislators got a pay raise? I doubt it would count as “keep getting raises.” And who would get the raise? The next office holder providing the voter removes the current office holder next election. (Per diem and pay for endless meetings with little visible outcome makes me nuts so on that we would agree.) And why don’t working men and women get raises? They don’t demand them. They seem to think employers should give them raises out of the goodness of their hearts. Even the working men and women of Minnesota are expecting someone to take care of them. Let’s stop criticizing workers who ask for what they feel they deserve and make self-reliance the standard for all of us who are capable.

      • Richard Olson

        You hit the nail right on the head Larry. Even when workers do demand a pay increase they get flack from those gutless wonders who don’t dare ask. “ I didn’t get a raise, why should anyone else”?

      • camobabe

        Larry/Walt, since when are you in favor of self reliance as a way to live one’s life? You have consistently and persistently railed for more dependency on government, more of government punishing the successful by taxing them disproportionally, so as to fund your beloved giveaways to the indolent,parasitic career work avoiders.

        While I do not favor increasing the cost of government, neither do I want our state legislature the romper room for people who are affluent enough to not need the income from serving us in St. Paul. If decent people can’t afford to live on a legislator’s pay, then it won’t be long before those people start making sweetheart deals with whomever has the most cash to offer under the table.

        It is erroneous to state that either party is the party of the rich, as both the Democrats and Republican ranks in congress are loaded with the rich, and seven of the 10 richest U.S. Senators are democrats, with 14 of the 25 richest members of the U.S. House also democrats. As long as our legislature consists of a disproportional number of people who are drawing pensions to supplement their public salaries we will be deprived of more energetic people who can give the time and effort needed to devote to cleaning up the waste and duplication and corruption in our state government.

        Since when is it a crime to get a salary increase after having none for a dozen or more years? Who can afford to lead a comfortable life on just the salary of our legislators, without any other income? For all the grief and insults and attacks they endure they deserve even more than what they have proposed. It is not a job which requires only four months a year effort, as they are generally required to spend many weeks even months outside the floor sessions in meeting with constituents, contacting members of the executive branch to plea the cases of those constituents, attend committee meetings in St. Paul and elsewhere at all times of the year.

        That said, I would agree that we should have term limits not only on legislators, but on government employees as well. Perhaps for those municipal and county and state employees, limit them to oh, eight years on the public payroll, then require that they spend at least four years in the private sector meeting actual deadlines, inflexible budgets, and less than the 30 to 50 paid days off per year. I would only favor exempting police, fire fighters, and other first responders from this arrangement. It would certainly help to change the attitudes of a few surly public employees to have to perform the actual duties assigned to them in a manner which their employers value and reward.

        • Walt Henry

          Camilla, I don’t know why you would be surprised. Keeping our commitments, paying for things we’ve already ordered and balancing our budget are what all people of integrity try to do. If we’ve promised something, bought something on credit or need more income to balance our budget, of course, we need to raise taxes. That’s common sense. Of course we could dream….

        • Grayson

          Ok, Camilla I agree with terms limits for legislators, but I’m gonna have to play devil’s advocate with the rest of your last paragraph.

          Your “plan” would require government employees to work in the private sector for 4 years. So how about the employees in the private sector working for the government for 4 years.

          You can start your first day on the job for the City of Fergus Falls. You’ll get to use an orange Fergus truck for this job, but you’ll have to supply your own clothing, shoes and gloves. Your job is to clean out all the garbage cans in all the city parks. Starting at Lake Alice. Try and avoid all the goose and dog poop while you empty out all the garbage cans around the lake. You get the honor of cleaning up all the nasty garbage that people dump there because they don’t want to pay to bring it to the landfill. When your done with the parks you have to clean out the garbage cans down town as well. Now don’t bump the cans into the parks cars that are in your way!! WHAT!!! This government jobs is not the right one for you!! Ok, lets look for another one…. I know you can drive the new garbage truck around. Since that gentleman makes a ton of money and is always on vacation I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to hand over his job. First you have to get some experience. You’ll have to jump on the back of an old garbage truck, zip around town and pick up garbage cans behind citizen’s homes, just like the old days. Oh, by the way you get paid very little and get really bad family health insurance. Still want the job?

          What’s that you said? You want to go back to the private sector because you’ll make more money and have better health insurance. Oh, but wait! You thought having a government job was like sleeping on a bed of roses, while always being on paid vacation. Sorry!! You have 3 years and 364 days left on your required government job.

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