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Some State Workers Worry As Layoff Letters Arrive

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thousands of state workers have opened their mailboxes Saturday to find letters they didn’t want but knew were coming.

The state mailed out 36,000 layoff notices to state employees and another 6,000 notices to state university and college employees on Thursday. The vast notice is set to be one of the largest layoffs in state history.

Most of those state workers would stop working July 1 if a new two-year budget isn’t in place.

One who received a layoff notice was Kristin Kirchoff, 27, of Forest Lake, Minn. She processes water permits for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Kirchoff is the sole income provider in her home as a single mother. As the state budget impasse threatens her job, she’s is now only worried about protecting and providing for her son.

“I have an almost 3-year-old son, and if I get laid off, pardon my language, but I am screwed,” Kirchoff said. “How do I feed him, how do I shelter him? How do I take care of him. It’s hard, it’s really, really, hard.”

Kirchoff says she lives paycheck to paycheck and that the state shutdown could derail her financially.

“I go everyday and do my job, why aren’t they doing their job and passing the budget?” she said. “That’s my biggest question. Let us go back to work and feed our families.”

Kirchoff is a steward in her workplace for the ASFCME union, which says it supports Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to tax the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans.

Dayton has already imposed a hiring freeze, and if a shutdown ensues, like in 2005, a court will have to decide which services are essential, like licensing, parks and roads.

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