Surplus demonstrates fiscal discipline, Steele
HALIFAX – The first forecast update for Budget 2013 confirms a balanced budget that provides fiscal stability and more opportunities for Nova Scotia, making life better for seniors, small businesses, children and families.
Acting Finance Minister Graham Steele released the update Monday.
"Four years ago, government put a plan in place to get back to balance in 2013-14, and that commitment has been kept," said Steele. "This year's surplus demonstrates fiscal discipline and presents greater opportunities going forward, including a decrease of the HST in 2014 and 2015."
Forecast highlights include:
-- an $18.3-million surplus, compared with $16.4 million at budget time
-- total revenues, including net income from government business enterprises, are forecast to be $9.5 billion, down $9.6 million from budget
-- total expenses are forecast to be $9.5 billion, down $11.5 million from budget
-- departmental spending is forecast to be $9.1 million lower than budget
-- gross debt-servicing costs are forecast to be $5.8 million lower than budget
-- three additional appropriations, totaling $12.6 million, to support capital projects and pension valuation adjustments. An additional appropriation was needed for SAP projects through IBM and is fully recoverable.
Nova Scotia is one of only four provinces to introduce a balanced budget for 2013-14.
"Balanced budget 2013 shows that fiscal discipline pays off," said Steele. "The major credit rating agencies have recognized the hard work of all Nova Scotians to get their province on stronger financial footing. And all Nova Scotians will share in the benefits this balanced budget brings."
Key investments in Budget 2013 include:
-- funding insulin pumps and supplies for youth up to 19, and supplies for insulin pumps for people younger than 25
-- expanding dental coverage for children
-- expanding newborn screening to include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and eight other conditions
-- providing personal income tax relief to low-income seniors with a new non-refundable Age Amount tax credit
-- reducing small business tax rates for the fourth year in a row, to three per cent
-- helping students succeed in math with curriculum improvements in grades primary to 3 and 10, doubling the time Grade 10 students learn math
-- targeted school board funding to support students with special needs, including plans to hire 25 new program and support staff, psychologists and speech language pathologists
Forecast update materials are available on the Department of Finance's website at www.novascotia.ca/finance/en/home/budget/forecastupdate.aspx .