Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On this holiday weekend, many families are feeling the mounting pressure of the state government shutdown.
During the final hours of negotiations both sides made some compromises, but not enough to reach a deal.
There are no official talks scheduled between Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republican lawmakers, but rumor has it that they will likely sit down to talk on Tuesday.
For many families, however, that’s not soon enough.
Many state employees are concerned about the Minnesotans they serve. One out-of-work state employee is trying to bring attention to their plight.
That man is Chris Lapakko, a 28-year-old recently laid-off state worker. He now spends his free time sitting on the Capitol lawn.
“I just putz around all day and get nothing accomplished. Kind of like what they’re doing,” Lapakko said.
Lapakko said he would rather be working.
“I’m one of 22,000 people that is out of work right now because we can’t raise taxes on millionaires,” he said.
With his keyboard and Frisbees on hand, Lapakko plans to stay on the lawn until lawmakers return to the Capitol to hammer out a budget and end the shutdown.
“I don’t really have any options,” he said. “I can’t go camping anywhere else — all the state parks are closed. They’re cutting my money back, so I can’t like go anywhere cool.”
His hand painted signs show his stance on the situation. One reads: Unemployed State Worker.
As Lapakko sits with his signs, some passers-by offer support, while others blast his point of view.
“I say good for him, I think it’s important,” said Audrey Fischer, another out-of-work state employee.
“A lot of places have been shut down. Places are hurting right now. A lot more will be hurting,” she said.
Lawmakers took the holiday weekend to regroup.
There’s been some give and take in the struggle to come up with a budget, but the biggest sticking point appears to be whether or not to raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans.