« | »

AP: Minnesota Legislators Still Getting Paid!

From an outraged Associated Press:

A sign in a convenience store Thursday, July 7, 2011 in Roseville, Minn., advises folks that no lottery tickets can be sold or redeemed due to the Minnesota government shutdown.

Minnesota shutdown stirs debate over who gets paid

PATRICK CONDON, Associated Press
Jul. 11, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — While thousands of Minnesota employees go without paychecks because the state government is shut down, many lawmakers are still being paid. And the list of workers whose services are deemed “essential” includes the governor’s housekeeper and his personal chef.

But we won’t hear about these kind of workers until the end of the article. The AP has bigger fish to fry.

As the shutdown entered its second full week Monday, with no end in sight, politicians and public employees traded accusations over who’s getting paid, who isn’t and why

Oh, and never mind that the state government has been shut down now for two full weeks and life still seems to be going on in Minnesota.

The political leaders whose budget dispute caused the shutdown are still entitled to collect their pay, and more than half of them are. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican Senate majority leader have both declined their checks, as have some rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties. But many others are still collecting checks, including the Republican House speaker

They are still working, aren’t they? In fact, aren’t they essential workers? Isn’t it important that they keep working? Or is the AP in favor of involuntary servitude?

But, hilariously, most of this article is devoted to chronicling which member of the legislature is taking their pay and which isn’t.

State lawmakers earn $31,140 a year, which is paid in monthly installments

Which is chicken feed compared to the average public sector union employee.

The shutdown began its 11th day Monday, keeping 22,000 state employees at home without pay. The impasse has halted 100 road projects, closed 66 state parks, barricaded numerous highway rest stops and cut off many services.

And yet, to borrow from Mr. Obama, ‘the sky is still blue. Birds still sing.’

In that time, Dayton and GOP leaders have met just twice to discuss their differences.

As of midday Monday, no further budget negotiations were scheduled. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that has not approved a new budget this year.

The shutdown started July 1 after Dayton and lawmakers failed to enact a new budget by the start of the state’s two-year spending cycle. Dayton wants to eliminate a projected $5 billion budget deficit with a mix of spending cuts and new revenue from taxes or other sources. Republicans insist on fixing the problem with spending cuts alone

Which is why the news media seized upon this as a micro version of the federal debt ceiling stand-off. That is, the media was interested up until the government actually ‘shut down’ and there was no apocalypse.

Rep. King Banaian, a St. Cloud Republican, decided to keep taking his paycheck and blamed Dayton for the shutdown.

“We’re still working, just as other essential employees are. I guess we’re kind of essential to getting things done,” he said. “I feel we’re ceding too much authority to the governor if we link whether we get paid to whether or not he accepts our budget.”

Rep. Banaian happens to be exactly right.

Forty-eight out of 134 House members deferred their pay — 28 Democrats and 20 Republicans. Of the 14 senators who declined to receive pay, 11 are Republicans and three are Democrats

Again, what does the AP think it is accomplishing by fixating on this? Is this supposed to show hypocrisy? These people are still doing their jobs.

The long-term effect on state employees isn’t clear. After an eight-day shutdown in 2005, the administration struck a deal with unions that allowed workers to use vacation or sick pay to supplement their lost time. But this latest shutdown has already persisted for longer, and no one knows if a similar arrangement will be made when it’s over…

In other words, these public sector union employees might not be fully reimbursed for their two week summer vacations? The horror.  (But have no fear. They will be reimbursed. Just like they always are.)

House Speaker Kurt Zellers did not immediately respond to a question about his decision to keep accepting pay. Some lawmakers said they are taking the pay out of personal necessity

Again, doesn’t the AP want the ‘lawmakers’ to keep working to try to find a way to pass a new budget? Who else does the AP think should work for free?

Republicans have ridiculed Dayton over the fact that the housekeeper and personal chef at the governor’s mansion were deemed “critical” employees, prompting the governor’s office to announce that Dayton would pay the chef out of his own pocket

But only after he was shamed into it.

Of course these are the kind of workers who this article should have highlighted. But alas, there is no political mileage to be gained from that.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “AP: Minnesota Legislators Still Getting Paid!”

  1. Right of the People says:

    More of the Disassociated Press and their fantasy view of the world. I imagine if their agency was shutdown except for a few of them, the ones that were still working would want their pay. Of course that would be different then, wouldn’t it?

    I hope they ride this puppy down until they break the union’s stranglehold. I guess this shows how “essential” most of those unions’ jobs are to the proper running of the state, doesn’t it?

    Fire them all and rehire non-union at a reasonable rate.

  2. Illusions says:

    I don’t have a link to this as it was talked about on the radio, maybe some one else can find one.

    But the Gov. has now backed off his demand to raise taxes on the “Rich” dropping that all together as he is finding his ploy not working.

    So now he has come forward asking for a “Modest” increase in the “Sin Tax” (Beer, cigs, ect.) Mostly to save face and show he could get a tax increase to his base. Forgetting who really pays that tax. Mostly the low income who he professes to care about the most.

    The GOP response to this was the same as before. “Go to hell”

« Front Page | To Top
« | »