Dayton’s pay raises threaten DFL

by Keelia Moeller

Gov. Mark Dayton sent the Republicans (and some members of his own party) into an uproar after giving big raises to his cabinet last Wednesday.
Some of Dayton’s commissioners received raises of between 20 and 30 percent — an amount that is entirely out of proportion to the small raises that Minnesotans as a whole are receiving. 
But Dayton’s proposal to give his commissioners raises is not a new one. In 2013, Dayton was given the authority to award his commissioners with raises.
Dayton defended his plan, saying that people did not realize how difficult and tedious the work for high-level public officials could get. He also highlighted the fact that his administrators’ earnings were lower than those of administrators in other states.
Even so, I don’t believe this move was a wise one. A larger raise for Dayton’s commissioners means that Minnesotans will need to work even harder to keep up with their required taxpayer contributions. The raises Dayton’s commissioners received (some reaching up to $42,000) are the same as many Minnesotans’ annual wages. 
Furthermore, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt  revealed that his party is planning to use the wage issue on its campaign trail. However, he seems to forget that Republicans ought to take responsibility for this decision, too, seeing as they voted in favor of granting Dayton his raise-giving power. 
In short, it is not just the Republicans’ retaliation that worries me. Dayton has made too drastic of a decision here — he is not worried about reelection and thus feels entitled to make bold moves. But this specific move was not the best thing he could have done for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party.