Less than an appropriate amount of ado has been made out of last week's decision to increase the salaries for senior bureaucrats and - most egregiously - political aides. To wit, in some cases, ministerial assistants - who now top out at $94,500 - will be making more than the base salary for a MLA: $75,400. But what hasn't been reported yet is that, last week, our good friends at the legislative assembly management committee voted to boost the budgets for constituency offices by $35,000 annually to $119,000. And, at that same closed door meeting, they hiked the amount of money each caucus gets by $5,000 per member. Funny old world eh? The following is a complete copy of the news release announcing those increases.
Honourable Bill Barisoff, MLA
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2006
CONSTITUENCY OFFICE FUNDING
VICTORIA - The Legislative Assembly Management Committee has approved additional funding to enable Members of the Legislative Assembly to better serve their constituents. Included are an amount of $35,000 per Member for constituency expenses and an additional $5,000 per Member for parliamentary offices. Both increases will allow Members to obtain the services necessary to provide better assist their constituents.
Members have many demands made upon them from Victoria and their ridings which will be eased by this additional funding. Each constituency is different: large rural and coastal remote ridings demand more travel, resulting in greater operating costs. Urban ridings have different demands, such as a greater number of constituents to serve.
It is vital that Members receive the support they need to be effective in their roles. Members need to be funded appropriately with the proper guidelines in place to assure the public that these funds are being spent prudently.
These allowances were raised minimally in 2002.
The expenditure of these funds will be in strict accordance with the current financial management policies of the Legislative Assembly.
For further information about the work of the Committee please contact the Speaker.