Saskatchewan’s MLAs are giving themselves a 3.5 per cent salary boost one year after taking the same cut.
To show “leadership” during the austerity budget of 2017-18, the province’s politicians took a wage cut hoping the public sector would do the same.
But the government now says that cut was only ever intended to be a year, in fact, that was written in the legislation enacted to take the cut.
The wage reduction applied not just to MLAs but Crown executives and in-scope high-level managers.
MLAs went from making $96,183 to $92,816.59 last year. They will now return to that former salary.
Last year the provincial sales tax (PST) was expanded and increased and this year’s budget saw a further expansion.
Asked what the public may think of the wages increase given what the consumer has recently faced, Minister Jeremy Harrison answered, “in the last four years the increase in MLA remuneration has been 1.6 per cent.”
Harrison sits on the Board of Internal Economy, the all-party committee that determines MLA salaries.
The “leadership” the government hoped to show made no difference as Harrison acknowledged, “there haven’t been wage reduction of 3.5 per cent to public servants.”
Collective bargaining continues for most unions.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the 3.5-per-cent wage cut that Sask. Party members forced MLAs to take was always a “publicity stunt.”