N.S. New Democrats pledge 50 per cent HST rebate to spur home construction

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DARTMOUTH, N.S. - Nova Scotia New Democrats are pledging a 50 per cent harmonized sales tax rebate to boost new home construction and keep skilled jobs in the province.
Campaigning in Dartmouth on Monday party leader Darrell Dexter offered a one-year program he said will keep up to 5,000 trades people working and make new homes more affordable.
''The NDP will kick-start new home construction and keep jobs in Nova Scotia by introducing a rebate on the HST on newly-built homes,'' said Dexter.
''For families, this will mean up to $7,000 off the price of a new home, and for young tradespeople, this will provide a boost to jobs hurt by the recession.''
Dexter, who was joined by industry representatives for the announcement, said homebuilders were ignored when they went to the Tory government with a plan to help their industry through the recession.
''The Conservatives were willing to sacrifice 5,000 jobs, but I'm not,'' said Dexter.
In introducing Andrew Holley, construction manager at Halifax-based Integrity Homes, Dexter said the company was having a rough year.
''Andrew's company built 50 houses last year. So far this year they've built six, each of them pre-sold,'' said Dexter.
''Andrew has had to lay off all but a few of his crewmembers,'' adding that the value of new home construction has dropped 46 per cent this year.
The proposed rebate would be effective immediately.
On Monday Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil confirmed earlier reports by pledging to reinstate a cap on the co-payment seniors must make for their drug prescriptions.
He said the Tories under Rodney MacDonald decided to eliminate the $30 co-pay cap, forcing seniors to pay 30 per cent of the cost of each prescription upfront.
''That meant a senior prescribed a $300 drug would have to come up with close to $100.00 before receiving their medication,'' said McNeil in a release.
He said the Liberals would put the cap back in place making it easier for seniors to better manage their monthly budgets and access their necessary drugs.
The co-pay limit means that seniors will continue to pay 30 per cent of individual prescription costs, but only to a maximum of $30 per prescription.
He said seniors will continue to cover no more than $382 of their prescription costs through co-pay each year, so the budget for the program doesn't increase.
The Conservatives took a down day on Monday.
The Tory campaign office said Premier Rodney MacDonald had nothing on his tour schedule and they were not expecting to issue any releases.

Organizations: Conservatives, NDP, Integrity Homes

Geographic location: DARTMOUTH, Nova Scotia

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