MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Members of the Minnesota House received more than $2 million in per diem and expense payments this year, despite state lawmakers getting a $14,000 raise last year.

“Per diem” payments are for daily expenses that lawmakers receive on top of their salaries. In 2017, those expenses added up to millions of dollars.

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State lawmakers got their first pay hike in years, courtesy of Minnesota voters. The salary for the state’s part-time lawmakers rose sharply — from $31,141 a year, to $45,000. But that does not include money they also receive for their daily expenses.

House members receive $66 dollars a day for expenses, on top of their salaries. That’s seven days a week during the legislative session, no receipts required. In 2017, Representatives got an average of $8,812 in per diem, bringing total pay to almost $53,812.

State Senators get even more in expense payments: $86 per day. They collected an average of nearly $6,861 extra cash in per diem payments, bringing their total, part-time pay to $51,861 a year.

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Minnesota lawmakers haven’t had a pay hike since 1999, because they refused to vote for one. That’s why there’s now an independent commission setting pay.

That commission does not set any rules on per diem, and lawmakers accept it enthusiastically.


Here’s a full rundown of per diem spending in the Minnesota legislature:

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Minnesota House 2017 Per Diem, Expenses By Member
Minnesota Senate 2017 Per Diem, Expenses By Member