Thursday, March 05, 2009

Performance pay for legislators

Now that the Legislature's so-called "listening sessions" have been staged, it's time for the Legislature to get serious about how they are going to dig the state out of its multi-billion dollar budget deficit. I am not sure how necessary a listening tour is in this age of the Internet, not to mention the telephone or postal mail, but I'm sure it made for good political theater and cost the state a lot of time and money.

Where I work at Hewlett-Packard, revenues are down. The workforce has been reduced and budgets tightened. Salaries are being cut across the board, starting with a 20% cut for the CEO, Mark Hurd. Top executives are seeing a 15% cut, exempt employees 5%, hourly employees 2.5%. Similar measures are being taken across the country — but not at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Consider the message of accountability, responsibility, and leadership that the Legislature and the Governor could send to the taxpayers of Minnesota if the Governor accepted a 20% pay cut, the Legislature accepted a 15% pay cut, and all state agencies had to cut their budgets by a minimum of 5%. I would pay back the salary cuts if a balanced budget agreement was signed before the end of the regular session.

As the Legislature considers yet again, in the midst of a global financial crisis, how to confiscate taxpayer dollars for yet another professional sports stadium (among other boondoggles), Q-Comp for our elected officials is an idea whose time has come.

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