Punishing state agencies for tight labor market

A bill was heard this week to require the commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) to determine the number of full-time-equivalent positions by all state agencies and prevent any state agency from adding employees based on that number in fiscal year 2020 and 2021. It would reduce any agency’s operating budget in the next biennium by the amount of salary and benefits left unspent if the agency is unable to fill a job vacancy after 180 days. This would apply to job postings and long-term vacancies during 2019-2021.

The state unemployment rate is 2.8%, making for a very competitive labor market. State agencies have difficulty hiring because they cannot offer salaries that are competitive with the private sector. This bill would create a perverse incentive for state agencies to fill positions within 180 days even if a qualified candidate cannot be found, wasting taxpayer dollars and promoting inefficient government. (SF 2073)

Senate DFL Media