MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s part-time lawmakers earn $45,500 a year.
They got a $14,000 raise in 2017, their first salary increase in years.READ MORE: Deployment Of National Guard Makes Some Feel On Edge, Others More Safe
But lawmakers also get a back-door pay hike every year that taxpayers don’t see, in the form of automatic daily expense payments called “per diem.” No receipts, no questions asked.
Members of the House get $66 a day. In the Senate, it’s $86 seven days a week when the legislature is in session — even if they are actually at home and not physically meeting at the Capitol.
Per diem can be used for anything, but it’s not for legislative expenses. Lawmakers already get paid for mileage, communications, travel, and some get year-round housing.
Per diem is on top of that.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck And Killed In Hopkins, Driver Taken Into Custody
In the House, last year’s average per diem was $5,811 — boosting lawmaker pay to $51,314.
In the Senate, $8,274 — raising the average Senate salary to $53,777.
Here’s the kicker: unlike every other part of state government, you cannot go online and find these numbers. You have to personally make a request to the House and Senate to see these.
That’s why we are posting them here so you can look it up yourself:MORE NEWS: Brooklyn Center Issues Last-Minute Curfew After Protesters Arrested At Police Building
Here is another important source we used for this Reality Check:
Minnesota Legislative Salary Council