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Minn. State Workers Uncertain About Finances, Future

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Unemployed state workers are scrambling, trying to figure out how they are going to keep a roof over their heads and feed their families. In fact, some feel like they’re between a rock and a hard place.

As the shut-down looms ever closer, it’s forcing some state workers to think about things they’ve never had to think about before — such as budgeting for their uncertain futures.

Leigh Jorento and Jason Moran are two state workers with very different lives, but with equal frustration. They both work for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

For Jorento, it means planning for a family of four. Her husband will also be unemployed if an agreement isn’t reached in less than 6 hours. For the first time in her life, she is applying for unemployment — with two kids and one in college.

“This has been very stressful for me and my family not knowing what’s going on,” said Jorento. “Legislature has had a long time to work this out. Don’t know why it has to come to this.”

Jason Moran is single, but it doesn’t necessarily make things easier.

“I’ve canceled vacations, working with the bank with the mortgage,” said Moran. “Canceled everything except for groceries.”

Moran been planning for unemployment for two months. However, it’s the job he’s leaving behind that has him the most concerned. He works for the emergency response team and if there is a major disaster, his team won’t be available.

“It just feels like a total loss for the state,” he said. “Public sector workers, private sector workers lose out because they can’t fulfill contracts with them. It’s a loss for everybody.”

More than 4,000 employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation could also be out of work in just a few hours.

A MnDOT spokesman said they spent the day securing projects that will be sitting idle until a budget deal is reached.

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