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Letter: MLA/BC Legislature Expenditure Inexcusable

To The Editor:

While the focus is on the extravagant, and alleged illegal, spending  by two top minor officials at the BC Legislature, everyone is  overlooking the fact that according to the BC Comptroller General, the cost of running the Legislature and paying our MLAs has jumped  from $6.4 million per MLA in 2004/05 to $17.7 million per MLA in  2018/19.

This outrageous 276% increase in costs per MLA over 14 years  should be compared with a 26.6% increase for those on fixed incomes  over the same period.

In 2019 my spouse and I will receive an approximate $100 per month net increase in our pensions, as compared to each MLA (and the BC Legislature) receiving a $67 thousand per month funding increase for 14 years. Where, one must ask, has the Auditor General been while the cost per MLA of running the BC Legislature has risen at nearly ten times faster than the rate of inflation?

How many more government agencies, commissions, etc are being operated with the same sense of entitlement as the BC Legislature?

As an elected local government official I was not allowed, by law, to run a deficit. While in office we voted to limit any increases in stipend to the BC Consumer Price Index. Our personal expenditures were strictly overseen by finance department staff who had exact guidelines to follow. Once a month, at the Board meeting. we were given a list of all the expenditures being made, and could pull any account to ask questions and seek verification of what the spending was for.

There is absolutely no excuse for any of our MLAs and their "committee of oversight" to have allowed this situation at the BC legislature to have gotten to the point it has. Clearly our BC government needs a radical overhaul in finance management, and in the next provincial election we need to send people to Victoria who are willing to cut out the wasteful spending and extravagant largesse. 

Perhaps we could start by asking our MLAs to make people pay back what they were never legally entitled to?

Andy Shadrack, Kaslo, BC