first_imgFinance Minister Michael Baker tabled the province’s fifth consecutive balanced budget at Province House today, May 9, a document that holds good news for Nova Scotia families, communities and businesses. The province’s $6.9-billion budget features tax breaks for consumers and business, more capital spending on roads, hospitals and other infrastructure, and program investments in education, health and the economy. “Government is in a good financial position this year, so we are able to make choices that will benefit Nova Scotians for many years to come,” said Mr. Baker. “We are making affordable, sustainable investments, in areas that will make the most difference to Nova Scotians.” The province is projecting improved economic growth in 2006, with real gross domestic product expected to grow by 2.2 per cent, up from 1.9 per cent in 2005. The budget forecasts a $489.8-million increase in provincial revenues, in part due to increased offshore royalties. A strong diverse economy, positive revenue situation, and good fiscal management have resulted in continued progress in the debt management plan. A surplus of $72 million is anticipated in this fiscal year. Net program spending is forecast to increase by $491 million, and the province will make significant investments in: youth, families and communities; health promotion and protection; economic development and infrastructure; community safety; energy; and the environment. The province will also provide tax relief to Nova Scotians in 2006-07 and beyond through a series of changes to personal and corporate income taxes. Tax changes for individuals are worth a total of $53 million in this year’s budget; others will be phased in over the next four years. In addition, government has made a commitment to completely phase out the large corporations capital tax by 2012. This tax currently brings in annual revenue of about $60 million. Nova Scotia consumers, regardless of income, can look forward to relief from rising household energy costs with an eight per cent rebate on fuels used for residential heating, starting in January 2007. “This is a budget that will help Nova Scotians in their daily lives,” added Mr. Baker. “Lowering taxes and offering HST relief on household fuel will help families meet challenges and keep more of their own money.” In 2006-07, a total capital investment of about $383 million will be used to enhance the province’s infrastructure — roads, schools, parks, hospitals, information technology and other areas. “Improving and modernizing our infrastructure is a vital component of building a better future for Nova Scotians,” said Mr. Baker. “We need to keep and attract businesses in Nova Scotia, and contribute to the productivity, health and safety of families and communities.” Other funding priorities for 2006-07 include initiatives to improve community safety, increase care for seniors in the community, reduce chronic disease, promote healthy lifestyles, conserve energy, and protect the environment. For further 2006-07 budget information, see the Department of Finance website at www.gov.ns.ca/financelast_img

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