MNGOP Sen. Hann: Some state employees "do nothing," salaries "a clear misuse of public dollars"

David Hann.jpg
Sen. David Hann: Not a fan of the state paying employees to set up the state's health insurance exchange.
Minnesota Senator David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, is upset about the public dollars being spent on a handful of employees working to set up the state's health insurance exchange.

The health insurance exchanges, which aren't expected to be operational until 2014, are mandated for each state by President Obama's health care reform legislation. Minnesota is currently paying nine employees $787,000 annually to set up the exchange.

"There is still no clear purpose for what these people are doing," Hann said at a news conference today. "I think that's a scandal."

The state jobs in question include a health insurance exchange executive director making $108,388 and a communications director making nearly $80,000.

Once operational, the exchange will offer a choice of different health plans and provide information to help consumers better understand their options.

At the news conference, Hann, the Senate health and human services committee chairman, said his question "is simply, what are these people doing? Hiring nine people at a cost to the public of more than three-quarters of a million dollars to do nothing is a clear misuse of public dollars."

Republican legislators have opposed Gov. Dayton's push to set up the state exchange from the beginning. GOPers refused to participate in an exchange task force that handed its recommendations to Dayton earlier this week.

With so much uncertainty about the legal status of Obama's health care legislation -- the U.S. Supreme Court could strike down all or part of the law as soon as this spring -- perhaps Hahn has a point. It would seem wasteful to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars paying employees who might not end up doing any meaningful work for the state.
Thumbnail image for Mark Dayton smile crop.jpg
Dayton: Not a fan of GOPers complaining about state staffing levels.

But in response to Hann's remarks, Dayton pointed out that those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. On the first day of the 2012 session, Senate leadership cut $2.7 million from the Senate's budget to take care of a deficit. With Republicans in majority control, those cuts included layoffs for 14 of the DFL's 40 full-time Senate staffers. On the other hand, Republicans didn't layoff a single GOP staffer, prompting DFL legislators to cry foul.

MPR political report Tom Scheck characterized Dayton's response to Hann's remarks as follows:

In other words, Dayton seems to be saying 'we Democrats can waste money just the same as you Republicans.' It's an easy comeback but not one that really responds to Hann's concern.

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18 comments
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TJG
TJG

Setup is a noun. Set up is the correct use of the term.

atrupar
atrupar

Thanks. You're right. Fixed. 

Shawnzaa
Shawnzaa

"the supreme court could strike down 'some' or 'part' of the law..."  which is it?  'some' or 'part' and it's 'uncertainty' not 'uncertainly'.  Why should I pay attention to anything written by an eighth-grader? 

Jody
Jody

I think we could solve the recession by exporting all black people back to Africa (especially those stinky, anti-American Somalis) and all white Liberals back to Utopia.  Imagine the money we would save?

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

 Hmmmm a place with no black people and no liberals?   A land completely populated by right wing racists like you?    You do realize that South Dakota is like one of the worst places to live on Earth right? 

David Banks
David Banks

No, Michelle, actually Africa is the worst place to live.

Citizenbunnie
Citizenbunnie

Why don't we skip that and just export you to Pompeii the morning of the eruption. Imagine all the love we would save?

Stephen G
Stephen G

Ia ALL of David Hahns money invested in Minnesota. What a hypocrite.

jnail
jnail

These salaries should be covered by grants for the exchange from HHS so this is a non issue

Erica
Erica

And what has Hann done? I think I hear crickets chirping in the background.

Projectlearn
Projectlearn

The "tax the rich" mantra is about income and not wealth. Dayton has minimal income for someone of his wealth. The majority of old money in this country is in trusts and funds established many years ago and often beyond the control of the current beneficiaries. I am sure that the Governor just like a presidential candidate, is paying his taxes properly. Why would anyone pay more than they are required to?

Jason
Jason

But isn't that what the OWS want?  They want rich people to pay more so they can do less.  

webcelt
webcelt

Of course it doesn't address Hann's concerns. Hann's concern is some uninsured people might get insurance because Dayton followed the law. Maybe Hann thinks the exchange can be set up by magic? Maybe he's just a jerk ranting from his dislike of health care reform and to hell with whether it helps anybody.

Sam I am.
Sam I am.

What is Mark Dayton's net worth?  And why is his money in a South Dakota bank?

I don't know the answer to the first, but I surely know the answer to the second:  Mark Dayton shelters his money in South Dakota, a Republican state, to avoid the harsh tax penalties of the rich in Minnesota.  He also has holdings in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. Yet, according to Dayton, He wants the rich to pay their fair share.  But only if it is not Mark Dayton.

TrollFeeder
TrollFeeder

Troll much?

Sam I am.
Sam I am.

No, I tell the truth much.

StriderDogBlues
StriderDogBlues

*sigh* I've always wondered how rank and file people like you manage to be experts on just about everything...except how to actually accomplish anything. South Dakota's Republican state certainly seems to be helping their population and economy... oops, guess not. Well, their personal income then? Oh, 12.5% below the poverty line? Gee, guess it's not working out so well is it?

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