Taxpayers Federation Applauds Alberta Government for Cutting MLA and Premier Pay

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation applauds the Alberta government’s decision to cut MLA pay by 5 per cent and the premier’s pay by 10 per cent.

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“Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta MLAs deserve a lot of credit for following through on their campaign promise and cutting their own pay,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the CTF. “Today’s decision shows strong leadership from the top and a willingness to share in the tough economic times and the cuts needed to get the province’s fiscal house in order.”

The Alberta government’s members’ service committee – the committee that oversees MLA compensation – passed a five per cent pay cut for MLAs and a 10 per cent cut for the premier. Alberta’s provincial politicians are the highest-paid in Canada.

Compensation for government employees makes up more than half of the government’s operating expenses, according to the 2018 budget. Government employees (all levels) in Alberta earn a 10 per cent wage premium compared to workers outside of government, according to the Fraser Institute. Government employees are also more likely to be covered by a workplace pension, retire earlier, have greater job security and lose more work time for personal reasons.

Government employees in Alberta are overpaid relative to comparable provinces.

“Alberta could have saved around $2.1 billion in 2016, if public sector salary levels [per employee] were the same as the average of the three biggest provinces (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec),” state former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister Janice MacKinnon and University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz.

“We need to address Alberta’s ballooning bureaucracy so we can tackle the province’s debt problem,” said Terrazzano. “By cutting their own pay, MLAs will now have better standing to tackle the real cost-elephant, employee compensation, and get the province’s finances back on the right track.”

By Franco Terrazzano