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Editorial: Shutdown paychecks disappoint the voters

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opinion Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Minnesota's longest state government shutdown appears to be ending as soon as the Legislature can complete the budget bills and Gov. Mark Dayton can sign them.

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That is a relief.

Yet voters are still angry over the fiasco of the state government shutdown, where the governor and legislative leaders deadlocked over two competing political strategies.

The shutdown, now in its 15th day, has had a negative impact for many around state. While we may have a budget deal, the state shutdown continues until the budget bills are written and passed by the Legislature, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton and the startup process can begin.

More than 22,000 state employees were laid off without pay. The budget stand halted 100 road projects, closed 66 state parks and ceased many other state services. Local schools and cities have been forced to borrow to maintain cash flow.

Through it all, some legislators and state leaders just kept on collecting their paychecks.

This is very disappointing considering they did not get job one done -- completing a balanced state budget -- in a timely manner.

Frankly, they all should be ashamed of their own lack of performance, something they would term "unacceptable performance" for any other state worker.

We commend the state leaders and local legislators -- DFL and Republican -- who did the right thing and did not accept state pay during the shutdown.

According to published reports, those "not" accepting a state paycheck during the shutdown included:

State leaders: Gov. Mark Dayton, DFL; Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, GOP; and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL.

Local legislators: Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria; Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Glenwood; Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock; and Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent.

They all deserve our appreciation for sharing the shutdown pain.

If voters do not see their local legislator's names on this "no pay" list, it might be a good issue to discuss with your elected officials.

It is also a factor worth remembering -- especially in the voting booth in 2012.

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