Shutdown wouldn't stop legislator paychecks

2011-06-22T00:00:00Z 2012-10-23T09:29:01Z Shutdown wouldn't stop legislator paychecksBy MARY JUHL | Winona Daily News

While many state employees could find themselves out of work next month, state legislators could continue to receive paychecks.

Gov. Mark Dayton's announcement Saturday that he will not accept a paycheck in the event of a government shutdown - which will happen July 1 if he and the Legislature can't agree on a budget - pushed legislators statewide to consider whether or not they would accept theirs.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, and Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, both plan to accept paychecks if a shutdown occurs, though both said in interviews this week that they will donate the total amount of the checks to charities. They did not specify which charities.

Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, said he hasn't decided whether or not he'll accept his paycheck. Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said he also hasn't decided.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, was on a fishing trip in Canada until Friday and unavailable for comment, a spokesperson said.

According to House finance officials, if any representative refuses to accept pay, the amount of their paycheck would be allocated for other purposes within the House. Miller said if a member of the Senate refuses pay, those funds would stay within the Senate and be used for other purposes.

Gov. Dayton and the GOP-led Legislature are at a standstill over approving the state budget and have not adopted a strategy to deal with an estimated $5 billion deficit for the next two years. GOP leaders have proposed spending cuts that Dayton won't accept, while the GOP has rejected Dayton's plan to raise taxes on the state's highest earners.

"This is clearly the Dayton shutdown," said Davids. "We've made offer after offer to the governor."

Miller said he remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

"The last thing I want to see is a government shutdown," Miller said.

"I'm hopeful that Republicans and Democrats will put aside political games and come to an agreement."

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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