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Three per cent government pay cut not enough: Taxpayers Federation

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging Premier Jason Kenney to go beyond a three per cent pay cut for the bureaucracy.

“Kenney is right to try to take some air out of the government’s ballooning labour costs, but three per cent isn’t going far enough,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “Countless Albertans have taken significant pay cuts or lost their jobs, and the government is only willing to take a three per cent cut? This isn’t sharing in the burden.”

The Alberta government is telling its unionized employees to accept a three-per-cent pay cut this year, followed by three years without a pay increase, as reported by the CBC.

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.

Labour costs make up more than half of the government’s operating budget. If the government brought its labour costs in line with similar provinces, taxpayers would save $3 billion every single year, according to the government’s 2020 budget.

Of the 81 government occupations the CTF received government data on, 74 earned more in Alberta than the Ontario-West average and about 57 per cent earned $10,000 more than the Ontario-West average.

“Many bureaucrats earn significantly more than their counterparts in other provinces and a three per cent cut doesn’t go nearly far enough to eliminate the Alberta bureaucrat premium,” said Terrazzano. “If Kenney doesn’t find the necessary savings, then struggling taxpayers are going to have to fork over more money they can’t afford, and that’s not fair.”

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