Minnesota: Prepare to vote on lawmaker pay

  • Article by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 20, 2013 - 10:08 PM

The Legislature voted to place a constitutional amendment before voters in 2016 proposing to shift power over pay to a citizens panel.

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rogue37May. 20, 1310:17 PM

I thought they were in it for the public service not pay. Now they want a commission to recommend their pay raises because they are scared to face voters. When they raise their pay. Maybe they shouldnt be in it for 10, 20 or 30 plus years. Do a good job then get out.

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zkat5zugMay. 20, 1311:34 PM

If it sounds too good to be true... I wonder who will make up this panel and how independent they will actually be. Having politicians vote themselves raises has been a scam of the highest magnitude for decades. But given the clandestine nature of our politicians, it's hard for me to believe any panel chosen for this job won't just follow recommendations from the politicians themselves. It's like the wolves asking the foxes to guard the hen house. These noble politicians are the same ones who legislated political robo-calling exempt from the do not call list.

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farmmarshMay. 21, 13 9:22 AM

Pay raises? But they can't raise the minimum wage for the poorest workers! Let them try to live on minimum wage for one month...they couldn't do it.

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marathongirlMay. 21, 13 9:40 AM

They now earn $31,500 a year, plus expense payments that can almost double that. - Considering they don't pay taxes on the per diems that's more than double with the extra stuff they get.

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marathongirlMay. 21, 13 9:40 AM

Why don't they just put it on the ballot every year for we the people to vote on. If we feel they did a good job, we can vote them a raise, if not, well no go!

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ericgus55May. 21, 1310:34 AM

marathongirl - In reality, we would NEVER vote for a raise and they'd be paid so little that we'd get an even worse pool of applicants for the jobs.

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avejoeconMay. 21, 1310:52 AM

Eric--People don't run for office for the money. It's all about the power! Besides, with perdiem, 60 thousand a year for 3 months work is hardly being underpaid!

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ericgus55May. 21, 1312:31 PM

avejoecon - It's a lot less money when you consider that you have to pay much of that money to get the job (campaign expenses) and pay to live those three months in an apartment or hotel room away from home (that's what the per diem is for). It's also hard to keep a "real" job when you are in St Paul for three months of the year, meeting with constituents and campaigning another big part, etc. so most folks couldn't consider holding office at all because they have to work elsewhere. Whether the field is politics or anything else, market principles apply, and you can expect the level of employee you pay for. The fact that desire for power is the only reason to take the job IS the problem, and that's why we have a government full of entrenched idealogues who place posturing ahead of problem-solving. People who are smart, sensible, valuable in their professional field, and know how to solve problems don't want that kind of headache (campaigning, scrutiny of their personal lives, time away from home) for that little money. The only reason to take the job is as a steppingstone to more power and glory, so we get what we deserve.

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ericgus55May. 21, 1312:40 PM

Holding State office is three months IN SESSION, but it's not a three-month job (campaigning, meeting with constituents, fundraising, education on the issues, etc.) It's also a job you have to pay to get and every couple of years to keep. Outstate legislators also have to spend at least three months of the year away from home in an apartment in St Paul or in a hotel room, plus the travel expenses to and from their home/district, so the per diem isn't disposable income for many. The total of salary plus per diem (roughly $60k), may sound like a lot on the surface, but considering the associated expenses, it's less than many (or most) of these folks would earn by staying home and working their regular jobs.

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ericgus55May. 21, 1312:47 PM

Hey folks, I just looked it up, and our lawmakers make between zero and $11k on per diem, based on where they live, so that number of $60k (that someone brought up and I followed) is WAY off. The real number of total compensation is between $32-44k per year.

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