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Barisoff to retire with gold pension

A Penticton MLA set to retire next year will have the highest pension, second only to former premier Gordon Campbell.

Bill Barisoff, a 17-year veteran in provincial politics, is one of 12 retiring MLAs set to receive big pensions as voters head to the polls for the provincial election in May.

The 63-year-old will collect $90,992 a year, up to $1.57 million over his lifetime. Barisoff’s pension is the second highest after former premier Gordon Campbell, who will collect $98,175, up to $1.7 million over his lifetime.

“The pensions of Gordon Campbell, George Abbott, Bill Barisoff, Murray Coell, Barry Penner and Kevin Krueger are especially vexing,” says Jordan Bateman, BC director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, noting that the six ran against gold-plated MLA pensions in 1996, pledging to scrap that system.

The BC New Democrats changed pensions to a commendable dollar-for-dollar self-funding model despite the Liberals losing the election that year, Bateman explains.

In 2007, then premier Gordon Campbell reinstated the gold-plated pensions currently in place now. MLAs could then buy back missing time, costing taxpayers $16,412,712 the following year. The pension buyback cost taxpayers a further average of just over $1 million a year to 2011.

“The system was fixed, thanks to the Liberals’ pressure, and then they went backwards,” said Bateman. “Naturally, it’s taxpayers who foot the bill for that hypocrisy.”

Retiring or defeated MLAs are also eligible to receive up to 15 months of their MLA salary as severance a total of $127,323.

Castanet interview requests to Barisoff have not been granted.

Barisoff, who narrowly won his first election to the BC Legislature in 1996 by defeating incumbent Bill Barlee, announced in August that he would not seek re-election.

Here is the latest tally of MLA pension payouts, according to CTF calculations. Pensions increase by the rate of inflation every year. A lifetime estimate assumes the individual lives to age 80. This does not include the 15-month severance package. These numbers assume MLAs "bought back" missing time from 1996 to 2007.

BC Liberals

Gordon Campbell (Vancouver-Point Grey; 15 years)
$98,175 year 1; $1.7 million lifetime
*left office in 2011

Bill Barisoff (Penticton; 17 years)
$90,992 year 1; $1.57 millon lifetime

George Abbott (Shuswap; 17 years)
$89,084 year 1; $1.54 million lifetime)

Colin Hansen (Vancouver-Quilchena; 17 years)
$89,039 year 1; $1.54 million lifetime

Murray Coell (Saanich North and the Islands; 17 years)
$89,000 year 1; $1.54 million lifetime

Kevin Krueger (Kamloops-South Thompson; 17 years)
$87,700 year 1; $1.5 million lifetime

Barry Penner (Chilliwack-Hope; 15 years)
$78,500 year 1; $1.35 million lifetime
*left office in 2011

Kevin Falcon (Surrey-Cloverdale; 12 years)
$62,893 year 1; $1.09 million lifetime

Blair Lekstrom (Peace River South; 12 years)
$59,912 year 1; $1.04 million lifetime

Randy Hawes (Abbotsford-Mission; 12 years)
$53,000 year 1; $847,000 lifetime (14 years until he turns 80)

Harry Bloy (Burnaby-Lougheed; 12 years)
$49,000 year 1;  $720,000 lifetime (13 years until he turns 80)

John Les (Chilliwack; 12 years)
$48,289 year 1; $835,000 lifetime

Dave Hayer (Surrey-Tynehead; 12 years)
$47,600 year 1; $824,000 lifetime

Joan McIntyre (West Vancouver-Sea to Sky; 8 years)
$32,875 year 1; $568,500 lifetime

Iain Black (Port Moody-Coquitlam; 6 years)
$30,000 year 1;  $520,000 lifetime
*left office in 2011

Mary McNeil (Vancouver False Creek; 4 years)
Ineligible for MLA pension—less than six years of service

Rob Howard (Richmond Centre; 4 years)
Ineligible for MLA pension—less than six years of service

Kash Heed (Vancouver Fraserview; 4 years)
Ineligible for MLA pension—less than six years of service

NDP

Diane Thorne (Coquitlam-Maillardville; 8 years)
$28,875 year 1; $461,000 lifetime (14 years to age 80)

Michael Sather (Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge; 8 years)
$28,500 year 1; $490,000 lifetime

Gary Coons (North Coast; 8 years)
$28,500 year 1; $490,000 lifetime

Dawn Black (4 years)
Ineligible for MLA pension—less than six years of service
Does receive an MP pension: $41,560 year 1; $790,000 lifetime

BCCP

John Cummins (BCCP leader; never an MLA)
Currently collecting MP pension: $96,581 year 1; $1.3 million lifetime (age 69-80)

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