Minnesota lawmakers will receive a nearly 4% salary boost over the next two years under an agreement by the Legislative Salary Council.
With some members citing the state's improved economic outlook, the council voted 11-4 on Friday to raise salaries at a 1.88% clip each of the next two years – arriving at a new salary of $48,250. The increase will take effect July 1.
In determining the pay raises, the council examined 26 states that, like Minnesota, have legislatures composed of senators and representatives who hold other jobs. Council members also accounted for Social Security benefit increases and the potential for inflation next year.
Views among members shifted after fears of a deep state budgetary hole subsided.
"We don't want to go backwards and I don't think we want to play catch-up in a few years," said Council Member David Metzen.
Others raised concerns about the optics of too big of a pay hike at a time when many Minnesota families are still experiencing economic hardship.
"I think we have to be cognizant that our legislators represent the people in their districts," said Council Member Diana Burlison.
The council sets legislative salaries each March in odd-numbered years. The Legislature established the council in 2016 after lawmakers' salaries had remained unchanged since 1999.