Do Minnesota Lawmakers Have A Per Diem Problem?
Do Minnesota lawmakers have a per diem problem? The short answer seems to be yes. This year in a shortened session, in which it seems not much was actually accomplished, Minnesota legislators earned a combined $1.2 million dollars in per diem pay, which averages a little more than $6,000 per legislator. That's $6,000 they made on top of their salary of over $45,000 while some Minnesotans were furloughed, or let go due to COVID. Mindblowing.
WCCO-TV's Pat Kessler broke down the numbers in Wednesday night's Reality Check segment of the 10p news. According to Kessler "Minnesota lawmakers got thousands of dollars for daily expenses during Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order, with no receipts required. Even in normal times, all Minnesota House members are entitled to $66 in per diem payments every day they work — that’s on top of their $46,500 salaries, travel expenses, mileage, and housing allowances — and all Minnesota Senators get $86."
During the 3 month session, Minnesota legislator's earned an extra $1,266,071 in per diem or $449 extra per week on top of their regular paycheck.
It's soft money, a pay raise of sorts, and it seems all of our legislators take it with the exception of two. Rochester's Tine Liebling and East Bethel's Cal Bahr didn't take a dime in per diem.
During the 2020 session, Senator John Jasinski took $8,428 in session per diem you can see all Senator's if you follow the link.
During the 2020 session, Rep. Brian Daniels took $6,798 in session per diem you can see all Representative's if you follow the link.
So what do we do about the per diem? I don't have an answer. Personally, I feel that if you are from Roseau and you are coming to St. Paul for the session I do think you need to get something, but if you are traveling from Faribault to St. Paul, you shouldn't get as much as the person from Roseau.
I don't get a per diem to come to work every day, I'm incentivized by my paycheck, shouldn't that be enough?