02/10/2015 12:17 EST | Updated 04/12/2015 05:59 EDT

Stephen McNeil: Cuts To Nova Scotia Politicians' Salaries Part Of Budget Talks

HALIFAX - The possibility of pay cuts for Nova Scotia politicians are part of deliberations for the spring budget, Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday.

"We are looking at the entire fiscal envelope," said McNeil. "As we build our budget we will look at all options."

But McNeil said civil servants will not see their wages reduced, adding that the government is in contract negotiations with several bargaining units and is not looking at any salary rollbacks.

"I made a commitment that I will be looking for a wage pattern that I can afford to pay on a go-forward basis, but I will not be retroactively going back on civil servants," he said.

On Monday, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said he and members of his cabinet will have their ministerial salaries reduced as of April 1 until the province's books are balanced.

That move will see Gallant's salary fall to $152,150 from $164,000 and cabinet ministers will have their earnings drop to $132,253 from $137,614.

Gallant's announcement was followed by a call from Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie for McNeil to follow suit.

The Opposition leader said a pay reduction for members of the Nova Scotia legislature is in order at a time when the public is being warned of tough fiscal measures ahead to bring down the deficit, which is forecast to be $220.6 million this fiscal year.

"He's the one asking every other Nova Scotian to tighten their belt," Baillie said. "I believe in the principle that we should all be in this together."

Members of the Nova Scotia legislature receive a base salary of $89,235.

The premier makes an additional indemnity of $112,791, bringing his salary to $202,026, while cabinet ministers receive an additional indemnity of $49,047.

A panel report released last April in Nova Scotia did not recommend any changes to salaries for members nor top-ups given to party leaders and the premier.

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