The Minnesota Senate took up the much-debated Deficiency Funding bill on Thursday, which became the legislative vehicle for a broader discussion on Commissioner pay increases.
The Deficiency Funding bill would provide sufficient funding to state departments and public assets which have incurred unexpected costs that will hamper their performance if the state doesn’t act by the end of the fiscal year. The Minnesota Security Hospital, Minnesota Zoo, and Department of Natural Resources are some of the groups requiring additional funding.
Most of the discussion on the floor, however, revolved around the topic of pay increases for Governor Dayton’s cabinet. An amendment was offered by Democratic leadership to postpone the upcoming salary increases to this July so that the legislature and public could take more time to examine the change. Several Senators agreed that while they believe increasing commissioner pay to be more competitive is a generally good idea, postponing the pay hike would allow for important legislative oversight on a topic that has been a top story in the public eye.
The amendment to postpone salary increases passed with a wide majority, and the bill passed off the floor after a brief discussion. (S.F. 136)