MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of Minnesota Legislative staffers face layoffs if Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House and Senate leaders cannot resolve a budget impasse.
The unprecedented dust-up comes after Dayton vetoed legislative funding after Republicans inserted a political trap that forced him to choose between signing a tax cut bill or shutting down the Department of Revenue.
The governor’s shutdown threat could mean the largest mass layoff in Minnesota since 2015.
“I regret the effect on the staff very, very much,” Dayton told reporters on Friday.
The layoffs could include up to 230 regular Minnesota House employees and 204 staffers in the Minnesota Senate.
And that’s not counting 201 elected lawmakers — a total of 635 people.
The money runs out July 1, and the governor is calling for a special session do-over.
“It’s within the power of the legislative leaders — their leaders — to remedy that in short order by coming back and doing the right thing for the state of Minnesota,” Dayton said.
Even though state funding expires July 1, the House and Senate have money in the bank to pay workers for a little while.
The House has $8.3 million in reserve: It could keep paying workers for about 12 weeks.
The Senate has $4 million in reserve: It could keep the lights on for 6 weeks.