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Updated: Falk won't accept salary during shutdown, Vogel and Urdahl to accept salary while Gimse is undecided

WILLMAR -- Many state employees will not be getting paychecks if the state government shuts down, but lawmakers will.

Republican Reps. Bruce Vogel of Willmar and Dean Urdahl of Grove City said Wednesday that they will accept their legislative paychecks even if the state government shuts down.

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, said he has not yet decided.

Rep. Andrew Falk, a DFL'er from Murdock, said he will not accept his salary during a shutdown and calls Republicans who are taking their pay hypocrites.

"They're still taking full pay and benefits. That really rubs me the wrong way," said Falk. "It's the ultimate in hypocrisy."

He said Republicans passed a budget bill they knew the governor would veto and therefore they did not get their work done.

"I don't think it's appropriate for them to be accepting salary when they knew this was going to happen," said Falk.

"I'm not a millionaire. I'm not like the governor," said Vogel, defending his decision.

Vogel said he's given up six months of his life and his business as a Realtor has suffered during that time.

He said he won't claim per diems during a shutdown, but he will continue to work as a legislator and therefore he will accept his salary. He said if his business improves, he'll consider donating all or part of the shutdown salary to nonprofit organizations.

Urdahl said he won't take a per diem or reimbursement but will collect his regular paycheck, "because I'm doing work as a representative whether we're in session or not."

Falk said Thursday that Vogel and Urdahl's claim not to accept per diems is hypocritical as well. He said the House has adopted a resolution stating no per diems would be allowed during a shutdown.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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