Officials with Walz administration receive massive salary increases

With some of their salaries increasing to over $187,000, several unelected bureaucrats have enjoyed 20% salary increases in just one year.

Gov. Tim Walz with his agency commissioners following a swearing-in ceremony in January 2023. (Office of Gov. Tim Walz/Flickr)

House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Springs, released a statement Thursday attacking Democrats in the wake of new details regarding significant salary increases received by members of the Walz administration.

First reported by MPR, some commissioners within Gov. Tim Walz’s administration have seen their annual salaries increase by roughly $32,000 in the last year. Seven commissioners currently receive annual salaries larger than $187,000; numerous commissioners have salaries higher than $180,000. 

A commissioner is appointed by the governor to lead a state government agency such as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), or another department. Minnesota state government currently has over 20 commissioners leading different agencies.

“Yet again Democrats are putting their own interests over Minnesotans’ interests,” said Rep. Demuth. “While most Minnesotans didn’t even get enough of a raise to keep up with inflation, members of the Walz administration — who already had six-figure salaries — saw massive pay increases to the tune of as much as $32,000.”

For context, no commissioner of a Minnesota agency received a salary greater than $154,992 as of Jan. 2, 2023. With some of their salaries now increasing to over $187,000, several unelected bureaucrats have enjoyed pay increases of over 20% in just one year.

Meanwhile, the wages and salaries of American workers in the private sector rose by 4.3% during 2023.

According to the U.S. Census, Minnesota’s median household income is just over $84,000. Furthermore, Minnesota’s per capita income is $44,947. Nearly 10 percent of Minnesotans live in poverty.

“This adds insult to injury for Minnesotans and further shows how misaligned Democrats’ priorities are,” said Rep. Demuth. “Democrats promised Minnesotans $2,000 rebate checks and tax relief, and instead they blew the $18 billion surplus and raised taxes by $10 billion so that they could build a $730 million office building for themselves and reward their own with huge pay raises.”

Currently, the annual salary for the governor of Minnesota may not exceed $149,550. As such, the commissioners who report to the governor make more than their boss, the state’s chief executive. Furthermore, the commissioners make more than Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and legislators.

In 2023, Democrats in control of state government authorized legislation that relieved the Minnesota Legislature of its responsibility to establish the salaries for many state officials. Going forward, an unelected group called the Compensation Council will determine the salaries for Minnesota’s governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and agency commissioners.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.