September 2009: Education Minister and Edmonton-Whitemud PC MLA Dave Hancock announced more than $80 million worth of immediate cuts to the education budget, including $890,000 from changes to a socio-economic grant that school boards get for the number of students they have who live in poverty.
Meanwhile… back in May 2008: In a closed-door cabinet meeting, Ed Stelmach and his cabinet voted to give themselves over $890,000 worth of pay increases. Premier Stelmach gave himself a 34% boost, increasing his salary by $54,000, from $159,450 to $213,450, and cabinet ministers increased their salaries from $142,050 to $184,000.
If Premier Stelmach and Minister Hancock are looking for government savings, they could start by looking at the pay increases they voted themselves in 2008. According to the 2006 census, the median annual family income after taxes was $70,986 in Alberta, which is $113,014 less than the increased salary that individual cabinet ministers voted themselves.
When Premier Stelmach rolled back the liquor tax, he said:
“It was something that I had a hard time agreeing with; it’s been bothering me all that time.”
Let’s hope that after five months, he feels the same way about young students living in poverty. In the meantime, feel free to make a donation to a local charity to offset your government’s fiscal responsibility.