Editorial: Pay increase for state senators is a good call

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Minnesota Senate voted narrowly in favor of a hefty salary increase for state senators Tuesday, and while this hasn’t exactly been accepted with open arms by much of the public, we think there is merit to the increase.

Opponents of the bill might ask what senators did to warrant a 33 percent raise. The short answer is, “nothing.” This salary increase has nothing to do with productivity, experience or quality of work, like many of us are familiar with in the workplace.

The reason state senators will receive a salary bump from $31,000 to $42,000 is to make the job more appealing to a wider range of qualified residents.

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With the time commitment required to be a state senator, it is impossible to work a job with regular daytime hours. For this reason, most of the elected officials who represent Minnesota’s districts are retirees or people who choose their own hours. This forces a skewed representation of the state’s population.

The salary increase is significant enough to not only entice potentially better, more qualified candidates to run for the position, but also create a more balanced representation of Minnesota.

While it’s easy to gripe about a government entity giving itself a raise during tough economic times, we understand the reasoning behind the decision and approve.