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Tax-free salaries and MLA pensions should go: Anderson

EDMONTON, AB (May 2, 2012): Justice John Major’s recommendations for the continuation of the tax-free portion of MLA pay and the creation of a defined-benefit pension plan should be rejected, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said.  Major’s recommended base MLA salary of $134,000 is reasonable, Anderson said, but should be fully taxable.  

“Albertans pay tax on 100% of their salaries, MLAs should be no different,” Anderson said. “And a defined-benefit pension plan is nothing more than a lifelong entitlement for MLAs and should be avoided at all costs. It’s great that he’s recommended scrapping the RRSP contributions, but swapping it for a gold-plated defined-benefit pension is the wrong way to go.”  Anderson said if a pension plan is brought in, it should be similar to other defined-contribution plans in the public sector. He also said the recommendation to cap transition allowances is sound, but the rate should be one month’s pay for every year of service up to the 12-year maximum instead of Major’s recommended two month’s pay.  “This recommendation looks an awful lot like the proposed Wildrose bill that the PCs voted down last year,” Anderson said. “It’s a good start, but two month’s pay for every year is still higher than most severance packages in the private sector. It should be lower.”  The Wildrose Caucus stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.