The Sunshine List Out Today - But is it the Best Measurement?


Author: Ross McLean - Crime Power & Politics

Are government salaries out of whack or inline with inflation and is that reasonable, in my opinion the Sunshine $100k test is out of touch with reality and distorts, just how out of whack Public Sector Salaries have become in relation to the taxpayer.

Quick recap and I will use Toronto Police salary as the base comparative, its the one we know best, easiest to track, but it applies to all Public Sector wages.

In 1996 the Sunshine List came in, for all public sector employees who made more than $100k in the calender year. The list meant to expose salaries to the taxpayers and public. That $100k number has not changed as the benchmark, and inflation has gone up 42% since then, so Public Sector Unions & Police Association say number should be $142 k before your name on the list.

I think that is the entirely wrong benchmark - in general public sector wages should not be based on inflation, they should bear more of a relationship to the taxpayers ability to pay is, not how much a persons costs have gone up. The inflation number is self serving, because every year the public sector gets and inflation raise, that creates inflation for the next year for the wages to go up again, its a death spiral for taxpayers.

Lets look at taxpayers ability to pay, I'll use the closest Statscan figures I can find and police wage info. (it's not that easy to find as the reporting format keeps changing)

In Toronto in 1996 when the $100k bar was set, the median income for a working male in Toronto was $48,000, a 1st class police officer was in the middle fifties, hard to find exact number, lets use $57,000. So Police $9,000 above median.

Now fast forward to the latest median income figure for a male working in Toronto for 2011 (last year I could find). So 15 years later what is that number? Just shy of $53,000 a year. So the median income in Toronto has only gone up $5,000 - and remember, with inflation that salary purchases 42% less goods, so in truth the median salary purchasing power for the median Torontonian has plummeted.

The Police wage now offered to the Toronto Police for this year is up 2.75% in the offer which would make 1st Class constable $92,500 for BASE salary. That's a $35,000 increase over what they were making in 1996.

So the gap between the median Toronto income and Police salary is now $39,500 over - it was only $9,000 over in 1996.

So the median Toronto income adjusted for inflation is really just $30,000 of purchasing power today.... and the police salary purchasing power...$53,000 adjusted for inflation.

This GAP is what is creating the problem, the taxpayers ability to pay should be taken into account. Raises should be based on the rise or the drop in the median incomes in Toronto, a rising tide raise all boats, but what's happening - and remember this applies to all public sector jobs, using the police as example, their wages are out of whack with what the median person is making.

If police were at the same gap as in 1996, a 1st class constable would be making $62,000 a year instead of the proposed $92,500.

I would like for the Sunshine List to list every job that is over the previous gap from 1996.

That's a dangerous gap.