06/11/2013 05:26 EDT | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 EDT

BC Liberal Pay Raises Put Finance Minister On Defensive

B.C. Gov Flickr
VICTORIA - The Opposition New Democrats say the cost-conscious Liberal government has found some extra cash to approve pay-scale raises for some of its top staff bureaucrats.

The New Democrats point to a June 3 order-in-council document signed by a Liberal cabinet member that increases salary ranges available to a chief of staff and some ministerial assistants.

The document states the chief of staff salary will increase from $195,148 to $230,000 a year, while pay for other staff members will go from $94,500 to $105,000.

The Liberals last approved staff raises for those officials in July 2006.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says the raises do not increase the government's budget demands because savings were found elsewhere in government to offset the increases.

New Democrat House Leader John Horgan says the increases come from taxpayers' pockets and de Jong's attempts to justify the hikes don't wash.

He says it didn't take long for the new Liberal government to show its true colours when one of the first moves involves staff pay raises.

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