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Legislative assembly, MLAs, buck BC trend with budget boost

While there will be belts tightening across much of the British Columbia government next fiscal year, the legislative assembly itself will expand a notch or two.

The overall budget for the assembly, set out in what is known as Vote 1, will climb by 15 percent in 2009-2010.

That includes money for “basic compensation, special allowances and other allowances for Members of the Legislative Assembly, officials and staff, and for support services and other related costs.”

The bulk of the increase comes from a 26 percent growth in “Members' Services”, the majority of which covers salaries and office expenses. Caucus support services are budgeted to rise 11 percent.

The office of the speaker, the sergeant-at-arms, hansard and the legislative library will see small increases, while the clerk of committees and legislative operations got small cuts. The legislative dining room is also taxpayer subsidized, but its cost is shared across ministries and the total for it is unclear.

Running the assembly is budgeted to cost $73.5 million in 2009-2010, up from $64 million.

The budgets for the health and education ministries saw small increases last week, while community development (-17 percent), aboriginal relations and reconciliation (-18 percent), labour and citizens' services (-23 percent) and finance (-34 percent) were among those to receive cuts.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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