Monday, August 31, 2009

Tuesday's budget could make for a burden to be shared, but will it be shared by all?

Michael Smyth in Sunday's Vancouver Province provides some interesting reading and offers up a glimpse ahead to Tuesday's budget, a presentation by the British Columbia Liberal government that many suggest will offer up a blue print of the road ahead as far as cost cutting, tax collection and job stability for the province and its residents.

The question that Smyth raises and one which should prove to be a helpful talking point leading up to budget day is, will this budget be a case of "do as we say, not as we do" when it comes to sharing the burden across the province.

It's anticipated that all civil servants will be expected to accept a wage freeze when the budget is revealed, though as Smyth explains it those civil servants elected as MLA's may not join in on the hold the line consensus.

Smyth takes us back to 2007, those apparently halcyon days of endless optimism, when all MLA's vote themselves a 29 per cent pay raise complete with pension upgrades, with Cabinet Ministers boosting their pay envelope as well and the Premier topping up his financial planning with a 53 per cent salary boost.

The good times continued on into 2008 as Smyth reveals the rather generous expansion on the government side under the Campbell government in just the last year. Bringing more of his team into the inner circle with an increase in cabinet ministers from 22 to 24 and a healthy pay bump for back bench parliamentary assistants with six Liberal back benchers picking up an extra 15,000 dollars for their parliamentary secretary duties.

And if all goes according to plan, all MLA's will also receive a pay raise on April 1st 2010, indexed to inflation.

All past expansions to the remuneration agenda that may stick in the craw of those that will have to suffer the ravages of a declining economy over the next four years.

If some of those more expansive increases are not rescinded in these tough economic times ahead, then next April one may very well make for a toxic reminder and provide for one of the cruelest of April Fools Day jokes in recent times.

Sunday, August 30, 2009- The Province-- Paycheques for MLAs keep getting bigger

No comments: