ST. PAUL - While thousands of Minnesota employees go without paychecks because the state government is shut down, many lawmakers are still being paid. And the list of workers whose services are deemed “essential’’ includes the governor’s housekeeper and his personal chef.
As the shutdown entered its second full week yesterday with no end in sight, politicians and public employees traded accusations over who is getting paid, who isn’t, and why.
The political leaders whose budget dispute caused the shutdown are still entitled to collect their pay, and more than half of them are.
Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and the Republican Senate majority leader have declined their checks, as have some rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties. But many others are still collecting checks, including the Republican House speaker.
State lawmakers earn $31,140 a year, paid monthly.
The shutdown began its 11th day yesterday, keeping 22,000 state employees at home without pay. The impasse has halted 100 road projects, closed 66 state parks and highway rest stops, and cut off many services.