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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

The 'Sunshine List

Keep top jobs accountable

With the recent release of the annual Sunshine List, the question of whether to raise the $100,000 threshold was brought up again.

This year, over 123,000 public sector employees made the list and 550 made the list from the Wellington County area. With the average Canadian earning around $50,000, the idea of making our own “sunshine list” is a dream for many.

The list was created in 1996, when $100,000 could go a lot further than it can today. The cost of living has increased, especially housing prices. Food and other consumer prices also rose. In today’s dollars, $100K would be around $150,000.

If the threshold was increased, it would reduce the number of employees included in the list by 84 per cent. The local list would also become sparse.

The Sunshine List was created as a watchdog for public payroll spending, but with the list of the names getting longer and longer, it is harder to keep an eye on those included on it.

It took many hours to locate and collect all of the employees from Wellington County.

The list should use the $150,000 threshold so we can watch positions of power, such as public sector CEOs and other top jobs, and keep them accountable for their job performance.

 If we do not increase the threshold, Ontarians shouldn’t be surprised when the Sunshine List grows year over year.

– Olivia


VS.


Taxpayers  deserve to know

The annual Sunshine List was released on March 31, revealing a 27% increase in the number of local public sector employees making a yearly salary of at least $100,000 ... surprise, surprise.

Each year there is talk of increasing the threshold to reflect annual inflation, which could mean increasing the cutoff to about $150,000 (today’s equivalent of $100,000 in 1996, when the list was introduced).

But where does that get us?

The Sunshine List is meant to offer transparency within all areas of public service. If the government suddenly upped the threshold, what does that tell taxpayers? Is the government hiding something? Is the government saying $100,000 is inconsequential?

Premier Kathleen Wynne told the Toronto Star, “One hundred thousand dollars is still a lot of money and so we’re going to keep it at that level.” I agree.

In fact, if the government plans one change, it should be to reveal how much every single public sector employee is making.

After all, their salaries are funded by taxpayers, much the same way a new fire truck or road repair is funded. It follows logically that taxpayers deserve to know just who is getting the lion’s share of their taxes.

How would taxpayers react if governments suddenly decided not to disclose spending on any project costing less than $100,000?

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 15

 
 

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