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Reality Check: Minn. Budget Bill’s State Workforce Cuts

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ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Minnesota’s laid off state workers are back on the job after the governor and legislature reached a budget deal, but they face more cuts with the compromise to end the 20-day shutdown.

Earlier this year, Republicans tried, as part of their sweeping government reform and innovation package, to ratchet down the size of Minnesota’s public employee work force with a 15 percent across the board cut in the state workforce by 2015.

That would have meant 4,800 workers laid off, and many — if not most — through layoffs.

The compromise bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature this week to end the shutdown cuts a smaller part of the workforce: 6 percent by 2013. That means 772 workers’ jobs eliminated, mostly through retirement and attrition.

The head of the state’s largest public workers union says the focus on public workers is unnecessary because, in part, Minnesota’s workforce is relatively small compared to other states.

“We have the 10th leanest workforce in the nation,” said Eliot Seide, the head of AFSCME. “We produce the best public services in the nation. Minnesotans are going to be happy to see our people back to work serving them again.”

This is TRUE.

The US Census ranks Minnesota’s public workforce, per capita, as one of the smaller workforces in the country. It ranks 40th in the nation — roughly tied with Florida.

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