SCOOP: MPPs double their own hospitality budgets
And the Science Centre mystery thickens
ABOVE THE FOLD
First in Observer — A DOUBLE TAKE — MPPs at Queen’s Park have voted to double their own cash allowances.
How they did it: At last month’s meeting of the Board of Internal Economy — which governs the financial and administrative policies of the Legislature — House Leaders PAUL CALANDRA, for the ruling PCs, and JOHN VANTHOF, for the Oppo NDP, teamed up to increase certain MPP budgets big time.
By the numbers: Politicians now have $10,000 to burn on sole-sourced contracts, up from the usual $5,000. The cash can be spent on pretty much all kinds of procurements an MPP may take on, such as mailing, comms and printing services. Such contracts don’t require a competitive bidding process.
Hospitality budgets, which cover meals and the like, are also going up — from $750 to $1,500.
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The official line: Sky-high inflation is a killer, and the House wasn’t spared. “Some policies and budget guidelines had not been adjusted for 30 or 40 years,” Calandra’s chief of staff OWEN MACRI explained in an email. “The increased amounts represent modest adjustments to account for inflation over that long period of time.”
The shade: “Well, here’s the gravy,” said one Liberal strategist.
Sidelined: BOIE is an exclusive club. Only PCs and NDPers can sit on the board and vote, since they’re recognized parties. The Liberals and Green don’t meet the bar for official party status, so they don’t get a say in the decision-making. That said, the increases apply to all MPPs.