By Lethbridge Herald on April 16, 2015.
Today, the Wildrose pledged to end the outrageous vehicle and housing perks MLAs enjoy, and introduce new rules based on best practices from the private sector and federal government.
Under the current PC rules, MLA mileage runs on the honour system without having to keep a log of trips, with many politicians running a profit.
Mileage is a reasonable way to ensure employees are reimbursed for the gas and maintenance of their vehicle when they use it for work. However, not only are MLAs compensated at a rate of 43.5 cents per km, taxpayers also pick up the tab on an exclusive MLA credit card that pays for all fuel, car washes and oil changes.
“With the current system, the only people in Alberta making a profit of the Prentice PCs gas tax hike are politicians,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “MLAs pay none of the costs of driving, and then are reimbursed for mileage anyway. Only the Wildrose has a plan to stand up for Albertans and protect them from PC perks and entitlement.”
On the housing side, the picture gets bleaker. The PCs give non-Edmonton MLAs the equivalent of almost $2000 each month with virtually no strings attached. That means taxpayers buy MLAs the equivalent of a one-bedroom condo once every 15 years.
“Wildrose would usher in strict rules for MLA vehicle use in line with best practices from the private sector and federal government,” Jean said. “Under my watch, MLAs will have to provide clear, itemized reports, tracking true mileage under revenue Canada rules if they want to be reimbursed by taxpayers. It’s time to end the PC perks and entitlement at the Legislature.”
Wildrose would fix a severely broken housing allowance system for MLAs to match federal standards and bring down rules preventing the use of the money to buy real estate.
“The way the rules are now, MLAs can leverage their housing allowances into real estate investments,” Jean said. “It’s bad enough Alberta MLAs are the highest paid in the country, but the system is wide open for abuse. This won’t be tolerated under a Wildrose government.”
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