To the Editor,
A note to the premier:
Hope you had a good time in Europe.
I figured out how you can save $31 million a year!
Last year when my wife was off work looking after our son Evan, money was a little tight, and one of the things we did to save some money was to spend less money eating out. I know its small thing, but over time it had a pretty big impact. I thought it might be something you should try in your house.
I think the taxpayers of Nova Scotia would be shocked at just how much money we are paying for lunch every day.
I'd ask you to tell me but it's likely a big secret for some reason or another, so I don't expect you could or would give me a number. I have completed a study that concludes how to save $31 million a year. I'll share the study with you if you let Cumberland County keep our jail (just kidding).
As you know, the Province of Nova Scotia meal allowance for lunch is $12; no receipt required. With about 103,000 public sector workers in the province, it seems reasonable to assume that at least 10 per cent of them are travelling on government business on any given day, so that means about 10,300 public sector employees get $12 for lunch, compliments of the taxpayer whether they actually eat it or not. That's $123,600 a day, $618,000 a week, $30,900,000 a year! Wow, that's a serious lunch bill, Darrell.
I know what you're thinking, with vacations, statutory holidays and sick time, most civil servants don't work five days a week for 50 weeks of the year, but it makes for easy math. I'd bet that 10,000 civil servants called in sick today, but that's a good thing - who can afford to feed them!
When you consider the number of people employed at all levels of government including health care, education, transportation, justice, etc, it's very easy to imagine more than 10,000 taxpayer funded lunches on a daily basis.
It's also easy to imagine people being reimbursed $12 for a lunch that they didn't even buy. I don't have a problem with people getting their lunch paid for if they have to travel to do their job, but it seems to me that most of these folks are paid pretty well paid already, so asking them pay for their own lunches or maybe even make a PB&J like the rest of use working class folks doesn't seem unreasonable.
Anyway Darrell, that's it for now. Next time you're in town, lunch is on me.
P.S.: I think raising the high income surtax by 70 per cent might not be a bad idea, since I suspect that the majority of people making in excess of $100,000 per year in the province of Nova Scotia actually work for the government.
Robert Bird, Amherst