Esme’s Blog: Getting Paid For A Shutdown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Word that legislators are going to continue to get paid during a shutdown is already drawing furious complaints from state employees who are about to lose their paychecks.

But it’s not just government workers who will be without paychecks. It’s thousands of workers who do work with and for the state. For example, SRF Consulting, a highway engineering firm out of Plymouth, will have to lay off 120 people.

Gov. Dayton has said he will not take his salary. Some Republicans will no doubt point out that Dayton is a wealthy man. True, but the vast majority of the people who will be laid off in a shutdown are not rich.

The Republican legislators and the governor are pushing the state to the brink at a time when the economy shows signs of a double-dip recession. Legislators need to feel not just the heat, but the pain of not getting a paycheck. A compromise has got to happen. Maybe not getting paid will make it happen sooner rather than later.

More from Esme Murphy
  • State Legislators did not pass a viable budget

    There are very good reasons why the Governor is elected separately and also why the budget bills require his approval. The Legislature did not pass a budget that met the requirements of the elected officials.

    • Trayce Olsen

      If the programs don’t paid neither should the politicans.

    • Jake

      An arguement from a 5th grader. WHICH elected officials set the ‘requirements’ for the current Legislature? Name some names, PLEASE.

    • Captain America

      Mn legislators are proposing a 6% increase in the budget, Dayton wants an additional 9%, He is out of touch and extreme. He has a balanced budget and he should sign it. The budget he vetoed is the largest in MN history. If the state shuts down it is totally on the Governors shoulders. Stand strong GOP as MN is already in the top 8 in taxation in the nation.

      • Vern

        The budget is only balanced in terms the GOP has an optimistic prediction for revenue and depending on a federal waiver for medicaid which has never been granted to any state asking. Hocus pocus by the GOP

  • Eva Young

    Legislators should give up salaries during shutdown.

    • Republican legislators

      We Republican legislators Will never give up our pay! We Want to Make the middle class and poor be so poor they have to live on the street!!! you are all Truble. More money for us!!! You all are horable workers!!! Our plan of geeting rid of unions and the middle class and the poor is going t work!!! I hate all of you!!! We are going to win!!! 2012 is our year!!! I need a new home.

      • oh boy

        Gosh, I hope your not a real legislator, where did you go to school?? Learn tospell if you want to make real decisions.

  • MaryH

    Perhaps they will be more “motivated” to find a solution if there is no money come in to their homes. In fact they should be fined $100 a day for every day there is a shutdown.

    • kieron

      Individually fined, in fact, and for far more than $100..

    • Your Mother

      Yes, wouldn’t that be a novel idea? Americans get fired for doing a bad job at other companies when they make the company lose money. The United States of America is our company, and the employees, that work FOR US, need to be fired for their terrible job performances!!!

    • mommy monkey

      If any one of us were in a job where we lost billions of dollars – would we get paid? If teachers are going to be held accountable for what happens or doesn’t happen in the home and have their pay checks tied to scores – then perhaps legislature salaries AND benefiets should be tied to their success or failure as well.

  • mn_me

    I keep hearing things like the legislators are “doing the people’s will”, but it seems they think that they only represent those that supported them when they were elected. I thought they represented everyone in their district. Silly me. I completely disagree with trying balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the most vulnerable in the state. Everyone in the state should pay their fair share of taxes to ensure that the services we all use (roads, airports, hospitals, schools, police/fire departments, etc) are there when we need them. posted an interesting exercise – try balancing the budget yourself It really comes down to an issue of values. What is important to you about where you live?

    • Swamp Rat

      Right ON! Now that is MN chutzpah being said from the silent majority! Too bad the GOP legislators do not realize this!

    • Guy

      So … YOU support requiring the “poor” (who currently pay NO taxes but DO use police, fire, roads, etc) to start PAYING in to support these things … and then you say that the legislators are the bad guys. Shame on YOU – you are WORSE.

      • Jake

        WRONG, just SO WRONG. Many of the ‘poor’ get HUGE tax refunds EVERY spring, have cell phones, travel to Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, etc. The media almost NEVER reports it. They drive nice vehicles, have cable, internet, definitely EAT TOO MUCH, yet couldn’t fix a FLAT TIRE if their life depended on it.

        • Guy

          Uh … this was SARCASM. I was poking fun at the idea that the “poor” (who frequently get 100 % tax refunds) should pay a share…

          • Swamp Rat

            @guy & Jake;
            Getting a 100% tax deduction is a rarity. With the except of only basic GA assistance &/or GA medical if you can get, everyone is subject to paying income taxes on all income including unemployment, Social Security, and even subsistence wages. Also, tax refunds can be recaptured by the state and Federal governments for monies or taxes paid in excess for medical assistance etcetera. That’s what the Governor has been trying to tell us and the GOP won’t budge over this “fact”!

            So don’t tell me some lower wage earner is having a spending spree with his/her tax refunds. That ain’t true! If it was I wouldn’t be here commenting to set you folks straight!!!!

            However, if you look at the aggregate taxation percentages paid per dollar by lower wage earners it is more per capita than a wage earner earning over $200,000 [adjusted] a year! Ask Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and others and they will agree with me. However, the higher wage earner does have more tax breaks and tax deductions to deal with so in the end the tax level per dollar is essentially lower per dollar earned!

          • David J. Conklin

            >the “poor” (who frequently get 100 % tax refunds

            We don’t get that either–Pawlenty cut the amount we get back. Now if he had followed my advice and gave 100% back then the economy would be more stable and could grow.

        • David J. Conklin

          >Many of the ‘poor’ get HUGE tax refunds EVERY spring, have cell phones, travel to Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, etc. … drive nice vehicles

          BULL ROAR! 1) the rental tax refund comes in August and 2) Pawlenty cut the amount we get–I’ll get $399, 3) I’ve never been to any of those places and i don’t know of anyone who has, 4) I don’t even own a vehicle–I have to take the bus.

    • Republican legislator

      We Republican legislators Will never give up our pay! We Want to Make the middle class and poor be so poor they have to live on the street!!! you are all Truble. More money for us!!! You all are horable workers!!! Our plan of geeting rid of unions and the middle class and the poor is going to work!!! I hate all of you!!! We are going to win!!! 2012 is our year!!! I need a new home.

      • CHESTER

        rebublican legislator your a moron get a real life!

  • Swamp Rat

    As usual Victim Du Jour you are full of the proverbial political flatus beans!!! Stop blaming the Governor for everything that is wrong with state government. The real truth of the matter is that the GOP controlled Legislature–truly ignorant of high school ECON 10. basic CIVICS 103 [aka political science], basic administrative Parliamentary Procedures {IE aka-the arts of compromising and Constitutional knowledge] and, stalwart historic political leadership–could have had a workable straightforward state budget months ago!!!

    A vast majority of MN households, on a smaller scale, do the very same budget balancing 24/7 without all the vicious vitriolic rigmarole displayed the lackluster GOP legislators. Compromises like—A spending freeze, some scattered necessary trimming budget cuts, tax reforms, and elimination of some high end tax credits with progressive[but fairer &/or minor] tax increases as proposed by the Governor—could quickly balance the state’s immediate budget and drastically erode future impending budget shortfalls. There might ,most likely even be a “bankable” revenue surplus if the economy ‘slowly’ turns around.

    If a shutdown does occur this state will be in a condition that could lead to default and/or economic Depression like it has never experienced. The GOP should realize this and take immediate leadership action to curb such from happening. Compromising to correct the impending budget calamity and doom is the key to success.

    The party of Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan had better get its MN act together. Funny how we haven’t heard the GOP comment about not receiving their paychecks during this impending calamity!

    • Your Mother

      This is sick. And so many of these Republicans are Christians. Perhaps we should make their churches and other non-profits (!) pay their fare share of taxes once and for all. Work is work and it matters not whether you volunteer or are hired at some other sorry-ass low-wage job with no real benefits and job security. I think government employees should feel what it’s really like and get the same benefits the poor get. The laws would change overnight. The sad state of affairs is that so many Christians (I’m one of them!) would rather support wars, junk foods and countries that have dictatorships than their own people. How crazy is that? I think we might have to get rid of our government workers because they seem like corrupt “middlemen/women,” and only in it for themselves.

      • Janitor.

        They get free life time health care, dential care, and eye care. for there hole family. Free Glasses, cantacts, free medicen. and big pay checks. Its time the give up some of that like everyone in the public and privet. they keep taking our benafits away but they get to keep theres? there is something wong here? a lot of them own, have stock, shares in places like best buy, and the oil inc. call you legistlaters today and tell them to take a pay and benafit cutt today! Save your job abd everyones jobs!!!

      • David J. Conklin

        >And so many of these Republicans are Christians.

        They claim to be Christians. That doesn’t mean that they are one. That’s why Jesus “By their fruits ye shall know them.” They didn’t comprehend the message: In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.”

    • Annoyed State Employee

      So Swamp Rat… what you’re saying is that the GOP controlled Legislature should basically write the Governor a blank check? How can Dayton expect to ask for so much for the budget when he’s not getting that much to spend? He’s planning a deficit budget, and nobody sees a problem in that? So, how is he planning on paying off the deficit he’s budgeting for? You think he’s really only going to tax the rich? HAHAHA

      I’m both a republican, AND a state employee… and I think Dayton is completely in the wrong. I’m a member of AFSME and I don’t agree with anything they are saying. I’m a state employee, so you know I’m far from rich, hell I’m barely getting by. Then Governor Dayton is playing hostage with my paycheck.

      They should all be looking at cutting benefits for those who don’t need them. I had a friend/roommate who refused to look for a job, so I kicked him out.He wound up getting an apartment completely paid for including utilities. He didn’t feel like working, so he gets rewarded with free rent. I work my but off, and can barely pay my bills. How is that right? Stop paying the way for lazy as hell people. My wife has a friend who has had about 12 abortions over they years, 8 of those were payed for by Minnesota Medical Assistance. Now she’s stuck being pregnant because she didn’t get on MA fast enough… but guess what… MA is paying for her pregnancy. How can people like her get away with that? It’s because Minnesota feels the need to take care of everyone and anyone. Why don’t people like them have to take care of themselves? It’s because of Liberals like Dayton and yourself who want people to be dependent on government.

      Discriminate on who actually gets state assistance or county assistance. They should sell off some of the empty school buildings they closed down. Sell off vacant land. CUT SPENDING!!! Lower taxes for everyone! Stop trying to govern on a deficit! If Dayton doesn’t have the money coming in to spend, then he shouldn’t plan on spending it in his budget!

      My wife and I aren’t going to get our three kids new bikes if we don’t have the money to also pay the electric bill. But Dayton want’s to spend money he doesn’t have coming in. In the private sector, he would get fired. But this is government, so he just puts what ever spin he wants on it and the liberal media just runs with it.

      People like you make me sick. Open your eyes and mind and you’ll see that conservatives are the ones actually trying to help people. Liberals/Democrats are just trying to keep people dependent on government instead of having them bettering themselves,

      What do people consider a fair share of the rich? Should millionaires only be taking home $200,000 out of $1.5M. Liberal politicians won’t be happy until the US is a communist nation. God help us if that ever happens.

      • Swamp Rat

        @your mother
        Sorry to see that you are so rabidly angry that you are blinded see that this MN economic crises was years in the making and when the present Legislature is impotent and gridlocked to act no one wants to make the hard choices.

        As former Governor Arne Carlson has recently suggested forget the politics, the posturings, and ersatz economic prognostications and just look at the basic mechanic of the state’s budget.

        With all budget matters and things being equal and on a laid out observation field budget cutting, spending freezes, and generating new revenue streams should be a straight-forward task. Minnesota households are trying and, hopefully, succeeding to do this daily. Again keep the vitriolic or histrionic politics out of the budget equation as well as the past political buffoonery..

        The MN GOP has its good ideas with some required compromise and tweaking to do as well as the Governor Dayton with his proposed tax reformation on the high end “wage” earners. So what truly is the problem in St..Paul with everyone?

        The answer is so simple that an eight grade general math student or struggling family wage earner can see the solutions. Again, forgetting the politics and heated political nonsensical legislative chicanery the answers are right in front of everyone.

        Just take a “non-biased” objective look at the total budget then equally excise every department, program, and expenditure outlay. Next, reform the income tax revenue streams so that everyone pays their fair progressive tax percentages. The Governor’s tax on higher incomes can be tweaked as well as the GOP’s no new taxes or no tax programs. Somewhere in all this with and in the spirit of bi-partisanship and compromise will come a balance budget and maybe a surplus if the country’s present rate of inflation doesn’t rise any further! What I just presented will work if people would realize there have to be sacrifices made, everyone has to work together, and we all start believing in the basic American core values.

        Forget the machinations of extremist politics and political ignorances, Forget the name calling in the confused debates over the present economic crises while remembering that we as a state and nation can rise above the calamities before us. What so difficult about that?

        • me

          Excellent response. The problem is that the majority of people in the legislature have a superiority complex. They are always right, whether Democrat or Republican. And no one can be the bigger man and actually really look at the other side’s ideas and maybe just tweak things just a bit, so everyone get most of what they want. No one will get everything they want and need to get their act together and realize this

      • David J. Conklin

        >What do people consider a fair share of the rich?

        The upper.1% of our nation saw their income grow by 385% from 1970-2008. The bottom 90% saw their incomes drop by 1%. So, the fair share for each should have changed by the same amount.

  • Jean

    Esme’s Blog is right on – and so are the comments from those saying the legislature should NOT get paid a salary or per diem if a special session is called. They didn’t do their job – and were paid. We shouldn’t have to pay them again. The comments about being fined $100 (or more) for each day they’re in session without finalizing a budget are also Right On! Maybe a combination: no paycheck, no per diem AND a daily fine would get them to so some serious compromiaing to settle the budget impasse.

  • Dee

    So how do we put a stop to this madness??? Regardless of whether these yokel idiiots should give up their pay, how to do we enforce a serious penalty to the morons forcing a shutdown? WHAT CAN WE DO???

  • David

    Yes the republicans did pass a budget which did Increase spending 6% over the last two previous. Dayton wants 4 billion dollars more.

  • Amy Reierson

    Know one should get paid especially when people who live pay check to pay check and rely on things like Adaption assistance are being told that things like this will be held back because of the shut down. My family and I rely on the assistance to help make our bills every month. It effects my two daughters and their great grandmother who has Dementia and we care for in our home, not just my husband and I…

    • Guy

      So you “adapt”ed (the word is spelled adOpt) the kids as a “meal ticket” – nice.

      • bob

        Hey “Guy”
        there are plenty of kds that need to be adopted from hennepin county. if you think the ‘meal ticket’ seems so good, why don’t you step up and adopt one or 2 of them?

        • Go Michelle

          Michelle Bachmann stepped up and fostered 23 kids.

        • Guy

          Right at this moment; one of my grandnephews is upstairs playing on my xbox. I regularly take the grandkids out to events, games, zoo, museums, etc. And I don’t spend my time worrying about getting paid for it. If I “adapt”ed kids; I would do the same. Adoption should be because you care about the kid – NOT THE MONEY.

  • Kathy

    I am so scared! I don’t understand how anyone in our government can even think this is acceptable. There must be something they can do to avoid this. This will have a terrible domino effect and those of us who are already barely making it, will finally go under. I just can’t see how our best interests are kept in mind here. Really, shut down the government…I know I am not alone with I say, I am furious, scared and just plain sick and tired of this CRAP!! It is a bunch of CRAP! They absolutely should NOT be paid and they SHOULD be fined a months’ worth of salary if they can’t get it together. COME ON!!

  • Rico Suave

    I see the victim class is out in force today. I’m down with the fines. Fine the guv and all the dems that didn’t vote yes for the GOP budget with the needed cuts. Then give the GOP legislators bonuses for doing their job in the face of the outrage and resistance by the “gimme more and take it from others” class. Then for good measure fine the losers who work in our bloated, over-paid morbidly obese government. Fine away. Fine like the wind! Stay thirsty my friends.

    • kieron

      Fine the GOP for fiddling with ridiculous ideas like banning something that’s already illegal. How’s that for fiscal responsibility? Brought to you by the Party of No Ideas.

    • goodmonster

      Rico is Right on. Seems to me the GOP is proposing idea after idea, compromise after compromise, and the DemocRAT Govenor is in refusal and throwing a hissy fit like a spoiled brat. Government has got to live within there means just like the rest of us. Rico, do I know you?

      • me

        Dayton specifically said he would not entertain a budget that did not BRING IN REVENUE. Read the stories. The GOP is not coming up with ANY idea. Dayton would give up the tax increase on the upper 2% if they found a different way

      • David J. Conklin

        >DemocRAT Govenor

        As compared with the conservative Nazi’s? Play nice or it’ll come back to bite ya!


    I saw that one coming! State workers get laid off and Libs still get their checks! Man thats my kind off job! Dayton better get off his A– And sign the bill or he be looking for another job!

  • kieron

    And cons still can’t seem to pay their bills, a la GOP not paying up what they owe. How that fiscal responsibility workin’ out fer ya?

  • T.L.

    I totally agree with Esme and commenter Jean. “No paycheck, no per diem AND a daily fine” is a good start. I cannot believe that they wasted all that time with the anti-gay marriage garbage that’s already illegal. If we didn’t do our jobs, we’d get fired. Maybe we should just fire them all. No pay for no work, just like everyone else.

  • ronda

    They shouldn’t get paid. They didn’t finish their jobs in a timely manner. And as a foster care provider (and as of yesterday, not an essential person) I am not getting paid to care for two individuals that live with me. They shouldn’t either!

  • Jeff

    The GOP legislature was elected in 2010 because they promised they would slash government spending.

    GOP, stick to your guns. Don’t increase spending. Don’t give in to governor Dayton.

    Governor Dayton, sign the budget legislation.

    • Jake

      EFFIN A.

    • Dustie

      Watch the YouTube video “The Truth About the Economy” by noted economist Robert Reich (he served 3 presidents – Carter, Bush, Clinton). You are absolutely wrong about what the GOP legislature is trying to do to correct Minnesota’s financial problems – the rich/super rich need to start paying their fair share of taxes. Governor Dayton is correct and has my full support.

  • K. Soucek

    This whole thing makes me so mad! This could be the kick that middle America needs to go right over the edge! This economy is so far in the dumps in more ways than one. Why not, let me open my wallet a bit more for you…oh, sorry…there’s nothing in it any more! Shutdown government, send the workers home with no paycheck, cut off unemployment, don’t hire any new employees (even though politicians and government will candy coat it and say unemployment has dropped-BULL), cut at the very heart of America just a bit more – Middle Class – see what happens! It will get worse, not better. You need us, so you’d better do YOUR JOB and get your butt in gear. What a bunch of clowns. Definitely, they should not get paid for ANYTHING! Because they are not doing ANYTHING. If I could afford it, I’d buy them ALL clown noses and they would be forced to wear them 24/7 until they figured this out, as we “hired” them to do. Make sure you think about what this will cost to millions, before you put your individual pride first. Come on! Get real and negotiate and settle this. For crying out loud…what a bunch of clowns!

  • Gabe

    I think that there should be a Minnesota constitutional amendment that requires that state budgets be passed by the closing of the legislative session. If legislators and the governor don’t pass a budget by the deadline then they should get their salary reduced by $1000 each day they go past the deadline until they get a budget passed. Shutting down government is absolutely irresponsible and pathetic. I don’t know how democrats, republicans, and independents in the Minnesota government can go to sleep at night thinking that shutting down government is OK. Government is unfortunately far from perfect and all the political parties need to learn to compromise. Minnesota and the United States is in the middle of sad and pathetic politics that completely disrespect the principles of what it is to be American.

    • Marilyn Scott-Wilkes


  • Bill Clinton

    Minnesota’s budget shortfall is easily solveable. Simply reduce welfare spending to the national per capita average or the average of the surrounding 4, 5, or 6 states. That simple change eliminates the budget shortfall.

    • Guy

      Reduce it to 10% BELOW what you suggested & get all the welfare leeches to self-deport to other states.

      • Dustie

        How about deporting the rich/super rich leeches who are not paying their fair share of taxes which is creating this problem. Deport the rich to some other country in the Middle East maybe.

  • Tim

    ya know, 4 years from now Youll be looking back and thinking about how poor You thought You were 4 years ago and Youll reallize that these indeed are the good times. no matter how bad they seem. What we are going thru right now is a cakewalk. WAIT until You have no job. no government help and no way to get money to feed Yourself. Think it couldnt happen? think again

    • momiesmonkey

      Each and everyone of us is a blink away from the unemployment and food line. Darker days are ahead for us all.

    • Minnesota, Welfare Capital of the World

      It’ll never happen, Tim. Not in Money-sota.

  • Jake

    Ah, Amy Koch has just said that they won’t take any more pay EITHER, so what will you die-hard libs use for an excuse now??

  • Dustie

    I’ve written 2 comments and neither have posted. Wondering why. Possibly a censor with an agenda?

    • Guy

      Did you use any bad words … or even a bunch of stars or dashes or something where you self-censored bad words? This posting software seems to filter those.

      • Dustie

        Whops, I didn’t mean “Dope” – I meant “Nope.” :(

      • Dustie

        Dope, I don’t use bad words in comment/blogs.

  • Dustie

    Watch a 2 minute YouTube video entitled “The Truth About the Economy” by economist Robert Reich. Also read a June 17th news article entitled “Pawlenty’s Super-Rich Tax Cut proposal if he becomes President (God help us all): Watching and reading this video and new article explains a lot about why Minnesota is in a grave financial situation. Governor Dayton is correct and the Republican legislature is trying to take us down the wrong path as T-PAW did.

    • jan

      Robert Reich is a statist – the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.

      • Dustie

        Bull-pucky I say. With liberty comes responsibility in a democracy.

  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    As a conservative myself, all Legislatures should have no pay as well. Let them feel the pinch.

  • You're Sick

    I’m rich. Keep you grubby hands off my money. IT’S MY MONEY, NOT YOURS.

    • Dustie

      Well, good for you that you’re rich. Then step up to the plate and pay your fair share of taxes.

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