Governor Mark Dayton wants to meet with Republicans face-to-face over their criticism of his recent pay raises – and he's coming armed with numbers.
Since salary increases for a number of state officials, agency heads and commissioners went into effect last month, a war of words has escalated to a move by state Republicans to cut funding for several departments, and now, an invitation from Governor Dayton for a "discussion" on the matter.
In a letter to GOP Rep. Sarah Anderson, chair of the House Ways and Means committee (which, on Monday, approved an amendment that would reduce certain budgets to compensate for the pay increases), Dayton says he "would be glad to host a meeting with [Anderson] and other legislators to answer your questions and to discuss the role of administrative salaries in the governance of Minnesota."
He added he's looking forward to discussing the Republican Caucus's own "salary practices."
Dayton points out that, since Republicans took control of the House, their Caucus's Executive Director (currently making over $123,000, according to the governor) received a $16,171 pay raise. He also mentions the $32,508 salary increase they gave the Chief Clerk of the House – a non-partisan position.
"It is my assumption that, like me, you made these salary decisions to attract and retain the best possible talent to serve Minnesota," Dayton writes.
So far, there's no response from this, his second letter to the GOP this week.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Roz Peterson, who earlier called the pay hikes "outrageous," is proposing a bill that would remove the governor's power to raise commissioner salaries, the Star Tribune reports.