Public-sector salaries have skyrocketed to exorbitant levels that are beyond British Columbians’ ability to pay and are tantamount to taxpayer abuse, according to the B.C. Taxpayers Federation.

Director Maureen Bader said the municipal and provincial governments’ recent release of compensation reports are proof that taxpayers need a more accountable government.

“What we’ve seen are blatant examples of taxpayer abuse,” said Bader. “The most unbelievable is the B.C. Rail CEO who makes almost half a million dollars to run a 40-kilometre-long railway. That’s just ridiculous.”

Bader said 161 West Vancouver employees made more than $100,000 last year, up from 41 who made more than $75,000 in 2000.

The average annual salary in B.C. is $42,000.

“While the government should be commended for greater transparency, it must now become accountable to those left to pick up the tab for out-of-control salaries,” she said.

Bader added the problem is the government provides services for which it has a monopoly, so there’s no incentive to keep costs under control.

“To bring these into check, we need to start introducing competition into the marketplace with regards to government-run services so they face the same competition as an entrepreneur.”