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Reality Check: Certain Lawmakers Give Up Their Paychecks

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Another step backwards for Minnesota lawmakers trying to negotiate a budget deal to end the government shutdown, now in it’s sixth day.

At the Capitol this hour, hundreds of laid off state workers are rallying on the Capitol steps.

They’re calling for a tax hike on millionaires to balance the budget, which Gov. Mark Dayton proposed again Wednesday and which Republicans rejected.

Some of the workers are demanding that lawmakers forgo their paychecks during a shutdown. And some of them are. Here’s Pat Kessler’s Reality Check.

It’s one of the most frequent emails I get: Viewers tell me if they don’t finish their work, they won’t get paid. So why should legislators?

We checked: 67 percent of Minnesota lawmakers are getting paid during a shutdown.

Out of 201 Minnesota legislators, 136 are taking paychecks during the shutdown.

Republicans control the House and Senate and 69 percent of them will take a paycheck during a shutdown.

Among Democrats, 64 percent will get paid like they always do.

The ones refusing their pay say it’s symbolic but a real hardship.

“I’m not a rich person. There are other colleagues of mine in the House and Senate who are very wealthy,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a republican who is refusing pay. “Fifteen, for my family and I know for several other legislators, who are not taking pay during the shutdown, it’s a large inconvenience at a minimum if not a large burden for them not to take pay.”

A couple of Reality Check factoids: Republican Majority Leader Amy Koch is refusing any pay during a shutdown.

But GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers is taking the money.

Democratic Gov. Dayton said he won’t accept a shutdown salary. On Wednesday, the republican Speaker of the House ordered a ban on per diems for his members for the duration of the shutdown period.

Click here for the complete list of those refusing pay during the shutdown, as provided by the Minnesota House and Senate fiscal offices.

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