Bill to Repeal Local Government Compensation Cap to Be Heard in House

February 16, 2021

The League has been seeking repeal of the cap partly because of the rapid increase in recent salary cap waiver requests.

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HF 325 (Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan), a bill that would repeal the current local government compensation cap, will be heard on Feb. 17 by the House Local Government Committee.

The companion bill, SF 33 (Sen. Steve Cwodzinski, DFL-Eden Prairie) has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Current law

Current law caps city and county compensation at $180,927 for 2021, which was a 1.2% increase over the 2020 cap. The cap is adjusted each year for inflation.

The law includes a waiver provision allowing a city to request a variance from the statute. However, the process is cumbersome, and the results are not always predictable, with some waivers only allowing a small increase over a requested amount. No other state has a similar state-imposed restriction.

Similar bills previously considered

The League and the Minnesota Inter-County Association have been seeking repeal of the cap partly because of the rapid increase in recent salary cap waiver requests, and partly because of the need for cities and counties to be able to locally determine compensation without state intervention. The cap also creates a ripple effect for employees below the cap due to compression of local government pay structures. Over the past two years, local governments have sought more than 40 waivers for positions in cities, counties, and the Metropolitan Council.

The bill is identical to League-initiated legislation that was debated last biennium in both the House and Senate. That bill was approved by committees in both the House and Senate and made it to the floors, but there were differences in the House and Senate language and the bill was never sent to the governor.

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