Bennett’s vote leaves door open

Published 9:15 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

This is in response to the letter to the editor published on March 15.

Senate File 174 passed the Senate on a vote of 35 to 29. Every Republican state senator voted against this bill. Every Democrat except two voted for the bill.

Senate File 174 passed the House on a vote of 108 to 20. Nine Republican state representatives voted no and 11 Democrats voted no.

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State Rep. Peggy Bennett voted for Senate File 174. Her vote allows Gov. Dayton to single-handedly raise department head salaries on July 1, 2015. After July 1, 2015, the Legislature will need to approve future department head pay raises.

It is unfortunate that pay raises for state department heads and state legislators has become a hot potato issue. State department heads have not received pay increases for over 12 years. If, over the last 12 years, they had received modest increases of 2 percent each year, their current salaries would be at the level recently proposed by the governor.

State department heads and legislators play important roles in managing state government. Department heads manage billion dollar budgets and have responsibility for thousands of employees. I believe they need regular salary increases that reflect inflation. As a former state legislator, I understand that while the Legislature may only be in session four or five months out of the year, legislators are on duty all throughout the year. I also believe that state legislators need regular salary increases that reflect inflation.

If previous Legislatures had done their job by providing modest annual increases, it would not be necessary for the governor to propose corrections that reflect responsibility and inflation.

Once again, Peggy Bennett’s vote leaves the door open for Gov. Dayton to increase state department head salaries on July 1, 2015. My hope is that future legislatures will act more responsibly by providing modest annual increases to both legislators and state employees and prevent the need for large catch-up raises.


Robin Brown 

former Distrcit 27A state representative

Moscow Township