Government cuts tech purchase fund from MLA expenses

Nova Scotian MLAs now have one fewer perk to draw from.

 

Nova Scotian MLAs now have one fewer perk to draw from.

 

NDP House Leader Charlie Parker announced yesterday they were doing away with the technology fund, a $2,500-per-MLA pot members could draw from every year.

 

It was initially brought in as a one-time fund several years ago to get politicians set up with necessities like computers, cameras and printers. But they never got around to shutting the fund down and it’s been around ever since.

 

But recently, Finance Minister Graham Steele decreed $200,000 of MLA expenses needs to be cut from the budget. The Internal Economy Board, an all-party committee that controls MLA expenses, announced yesterday they were stripping the fund.

“We were challenged by the department of finance to cut out $200,000,” Parker said. “And we’ve met that challenge.”

Sort of.

The cut actually saves the province $200,000 over the course of two years rather than one. Because some members have already spent part or all of their funds, it will only save about $80,000 this year and then about $120,000 next year.

The change was agreed to by all parties.

Parker pointed out the government had already made other moves to curtail MLA spending. Members no longer receive a $45,000 no-questions-asked cheque once they leave office and their office equipment is now technically owned by the government.

Internal Economy Board meetings are held in secret. Parker said the board is looking at opening them up to the public and the media, but they are undecided and need more information.

MLAs can still purchase necessities like computers and printers from their constituency fund.

 
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