Political staff salary cut good step to show government willing to share the burden

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2020/10/15

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomed the United Conservatives’ decision to reduce political staff salaries.

“Many Albertans outside of government are struggling with pay cuts and jobs losses so cutting political staff salaries is a good step to show taxpayers that the government is willing to share some of the economic burden,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “The UCP deserves credit for tightening its belt and this pay cut helps give Premier Jason Kenney the moral authority to do what needs to be done to put Alberta’s finances back together.”

Political staff in the UCP will be taking a seven per cent pay cut, effective Monday. This follows MLAs and Premier Kenney taking a five and 10 per cent cut respectively in 2019.

While many Albertans outside of government have taken pay cuts or lost their jobs during the downturn, the Alberta government’s last broad pay cut was in 1994, according to research by Secondstreet.org.

The Alberta government’s labour costs have grown by nearly 15 per cent between 2014 and 2019, while compensation paid to all Alberta employees has declined by five per cent. Since 2014, the Alberta government’s labour costs have increased by about $3.5 billion with more than 10,000 government employees being added.

“We’ve seen Kenney and MLAs take a cut, now were seeing their staffers share in the downturn and next we need to see that happen across government,” said Terrazzano. “Kenney needs to take more air out of the government’s ballooning labour costs if he has any hope in balancing the budget and paying down the debt. Today’s decision helps give Kenney the moral authority to ask government employees to take a pay cut.”