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State Senate freezes wages and jobs

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The Minnesota Senate will not hire new employees and on Thursday froze wages of existing workers.

"These are common-sense measures to show the public that we are taking the budget deficit seriously and we will be sharing in the pain," said Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said after a committee approved the budget-saving action. "Our state is in the midst of a budget crisis and these actions are a continuation of the cutting we've been doing this year in the Senate. We will continue working together in these tough times and sharing in the sacrifice that many Minnesotans will be asked to make."

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Senators, who already cut $1.5 million from their budget, also:

  • Banned out-of-state travel.
  • Held open 24 positions.
  • Cut postage spending.
  • Ended job promotions.
  • Allowed individual senators to cut their own salaries.

    Some Republicans on Wednesday suggested lawmakers and statewide election officials' salaries be cut 5 percent.

    The hiring freeze means Republican senators will not be able to hire a new caucus chief of staff. The GOP position apparently is the only Senate job that officials had planned to fill.

    Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, on Wednesday sent Pogemiller a letter requesting a hiring freeze.

    "Based on these economic times, I hope you will agree that it is time to consider an immediate hiring freeze," Langseth wrote.

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