[media-credit name="Senate Media" align="alignleft" width="336"][/media-credit]Senator Richard Cohen (DFL- St. Paul) says he is disappointed in House Republicans for trying to politicize a deficiency funding bill that is aimed at dealing with unanticipated emergencies such as extra spending by the Department of Health to battle Ebola. House Republicans have amended their version of the bill to reduce three agencies budgets by the same amount Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) has proposed increasing each agency commissioner’s pay.
Cohen says he has authored deficiency bills under Republican and Democratic governors and never before have political issues been injected into the debate.
Minnesota’s Senate passed the deficiency funding bill Thursday with an amendment that delays Governor Dayton’s authority to give out raises until July 1. The amendment from Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL) passed 63-2.
Governor Dayton called the vote “a petty sideshow” and threatened to veto the bill. He said he learned a brutal lesson today that he can’t trust Bakk and “he connives behind my back.”
The deficiency bill also includes money for the Minnesota Zoo which was hit by rising costs due to state mandated employee raises and lower attendance because of bad weather last year.
House hearings on pay raises
Republicans who control Minnesota’s House called Dayton’s Budget Commissioner Myron Frans before the State Government Finance Committee to answer questions about the pay raises and employee compensation in general. Chair Sarah Anderson extensively quizzed Frans. Other Republicans on the committee used the opportunity to voice their opposition to the raises. Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) says the commissioner raises show “contempt”.
Video of the complete hearing is below: