Reality Check: Certain Lawmakers Give Up Their Paychecks

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.

Reality Check Links

More from Pat Kessler
  • Sam

    Hey Pat…Please follow up this story after the budget is passed to see if any of them get back pay for their time worked since July 1.

  • MD

    I’m sure they will all accept back pay once the budget is passed.

  • Ivan

    I am beyond sickened by the GOP. RAISE THE TAX ON THE RICH! Get off your dead ass and do you damn job!

    • Step Down Governor

      I am beyond sickened by the “All or Nothing” Dayton. COMPRISE ON YOUR “ALL OR NOTHING” POSITION and pass what you and the legislature CAN agree upon. Quit being a stubborn ass and pass something….or step down as governor!

    • Comrade Lenin and Chairman Mao

      Dea Comrade Ivan-

      What a wonderful Marxist name! It brought Comrade Lenin almost to tears and took him all the way back to 1917!

      You make us proud comrade. Power to the people!

      Comrade Lenin and Chairman Mao

  • Tedd

    If the majority of the people want the tax raise on the rich, why do the republicans reject it. Are they not supposed to be working for the people?

    • Dan

      Where do you get the majority of the people? Dayton won with 43% of the vote. Taxing the rich more than they already are will not help the state.

      • Tax Time

        @Dan you’re confusing election results with polls, there was no election about raising taxes on the rich

        bing, yahoo or google
        “poll on raising taxes on rich”

        • MIke

          Dan and Tax Time
          Gov Dayton ran on the platform that he was going to raise taxes on the top 2% percent and won the election by a MAJORITY of voters! Your in denial like most Republicans are at what is going on around them………………

    • Missy

      I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Dan

    Dayton stop the class warfare! There is a budget sitting on your desk. Sign it so people can get back to work. $34 billion is more than enough. Stop the spending nightmare!

    • Looking for Leaders

      United States just like the state of Minnesota is a place where you choose to live and just like a hotel if you choose to stay you have to pay. Nobody is stealing/coercing or otherwise forcing you to pay or forcing you to stay, but if you choose to stay you have to pay. If you have no money you stay in the utility room with just enough to survive. If you have a little money you get the bare minimum room and pay accordingly. If you have a lot of money you get a suite with all the amenities but again you pay accordingly!!

      Bring back rational tax rates of the 1950 and 1960, so the next time we have a recession we can cut taxes in a meaningful way.
      Let start negotiating at the 94% tax rate, like it was and negotiate down from there.

      google “Historical Top Tax rate”

      • @ Looking for Leaders

        I love your thoughts, sound like Socialism to me!!

        • Looking for Leaders

          @@ Looking for Leaders
          not surprising that you don’t know what socialism actually means

          “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”

          • Fred

            Yeah “looking” isn’t socialist at all. He better fits one of these defintions:
            1.a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
            2. ( often initial capital letter ) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

            Which makes him a Communist

            • Looking for Leaders

              @Fred you not knowing the definition of “single” and “all” just makes you look that much more confused

              If only you would add something constructive to the discussion.

      • Citizen

        @Looking for Leaders. Good post. The historically high tax rates on the rich in the 1950’s & ’60’s were to pay off WWII’s debt. There was more expansion of the income tax on the middle and poor at this time, also Now, we have two wars we are fighting and engagement in a third, and the tax rates on the wealthy are at the second-lowest ever (the lowest being just before the Great Depression–and economists believe those low rates were part of the cause). And any of us WONDER why the budget is out of whack at the state and national levels? It is obviously because the tax rates are too low–and most especially on the wealthy. You are absolutely right that we need to start at the 94% tax rate and go from there. Dayton is not nearly asking enough–it should be at least the top 5% and the tax rate should be at 9 to 10%. Minnesota cannot cut enough to balance T-Paw’s warped budget mess. And, the GOP pledge to Tony Sutton (unelected and unaccountable) is no new taxes, thus, the GOP cannot compromise at all or risk Sutton pulling their campaign financing. Interesting, since plenty of comments have stated that these GOP legislators (the freshman 19) don’t care if they get elected again. Well, they must, because they are not even trying to come to the table with Governor Dayton.

  • Mike

    Spoiled trust fund baby, never had to run a business in his life Governor Mark Dayton should have no problem surviving without his paycheck. He is such an embarassment to our state.

    • Mike

      He was elected to Governor and is representing the MAJORITY of voters who put him in office. Don’t let that fact take away from your inability to understand the facts.

      • Toddski

        Dayton didn’t get half the vote. I am not sure how you can say anything less than half is “Majority”. We should’ve had a instant runoff like they do in wisconsin. Then we wouldn’t have a state shutdown, but still an ignorant govenor.

      • Mike

        The GOP was put in charge of both the house and senate by a MAJORITY of voters also, liberals like you tend to ignore that fact. With his tax and spending increases, Dayton is trying to do what California, Illinois, and other liberal paradises have already tried and are failing miserably at with their finances. Why don’t you check out one of those states on your way to the welfare office to pick up your check?

        • Citizen

          @Mike2 (an imposter?). The GOP was put in charge of both the house and senate by a majority of voters IN THEIR DISTRICT. That is quite different than a majority of voters in the state. But, you are a CONservative, so I’m sure you don’t let facts get in the way of your delusional thinking. Resorting to namecalling and insults further solidifies the fact that you have no facts to back up your statements.

      • Majority

        What are your thoughts then on Govenor Walker in Wisconsin? He is representing the MAJORITY of voters of Wisconsin but I bet you eithee did or wish you could have rushed to Madison to stand with the comrads.

      • Missy

        I totally agree

  • Linda

    Sen Dave Thompson is shooting off his mouth about how crappy Arne Carlsen and Fritz Mondale are. Don’t see him stepping up to the plate and sacrificing his pay check. Lakeville is quite a distance from St Paul, probably really needs the per diems as well.

  • Linda

    Sen Dave Thompson is shooting off his mouth about terrible Arne Carlson and Fritz Mondale are. He can’t give up his paycheck coming all the way from Lakeville. He needs his per diems every bit as much as someone from Wadena or Worthington.

    • Citizen

      @Linda. There was some terrible namecalling by some poster who calls himself Rico Suave toward Arne Carlson and Fritz Mondale. Someday Rico will be old and the same derogatory terms used against our elder statesmen will be used against him. One thing about life is the leveling factor of old age–we all get old and die. And it has been my experience that what goes around generally comes around. As my husband always says, “When you point a finger at someone, there are 3 other fingers pointing back at you.” Or, as my grandmother used to say, “When you get in a pi$$ing match with a skunk, you both come out smelling.”

      • Drunken Dissed Orderly

        I never would have guessed you are a female.

  • Jason

    Do you really think if we make someone else pay we will be good as new? Does anyone question this logic? Really people?

  • Chubby


    • @CHUBBY

      The Dems had nothing to do with this? Stop the crazy spending! Healthcare Illegals? Welfare for Adult males for 3 years? It never ends

  • Click Here For Links From July 7, 2011 « CBS Minnesota

    […] Thinking About Playing Again (29)Beasley Cited For Marijuana Possession In Minnetonka (25)Reality Check: Certain Lawmakers Give Up Their Paychecks […]

  • MD

    It seems like an easy solution. Let the republicans cut spending and let the democrats raise taxes. It is win win for Minnesota. And if there is a surplus give the money back to the people who gave it to you.

  • Missy

    I agree with MD–let the Repugs cut their spending and allow the dems to raise taxes. It truly is a win-win situation. Both sides have to come to the tabel with a positive attitude and not have this “I’m not gotng to budge” mentality. When the public spoke on the elections last November, it was because a change was needed. Unfortunately I believe that the repugs got the wrong message. If y’all would go out and visit with your constituents, you would understand waht is happening here on “main street”. Right now y’all are just living in your so called Ivory Towers and totally out of touch wiht reality. Definitely spending can be cut in some areas–like raises for your salaries. However, is it really necessary to cut education budgets? Do we not want our children to have excellent educations, so that we will have a generation coming up who is mentally capable of running the government in the future? And do we really want to see the most physically/mentally challenged folks in our population suffer because y’all are afraid to raise the taxes on the top earners in this state? I mean, seriously, will a 2% or 5% tax hike on the wealthiest folks in the state really financially hurt them>???? GET REAL!!!

  • Cheryl

    Grow up – sign the damn thing NOW!

    • STIL-H2O

      Why? It isn’t acceptable to the person who would sign it, so why should he?

      So the Republicans can push through religious pork in a budget bill?

      Just to make you feel better?

      Really? Grow up indeed…

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