Nova Sco­tia finance min­is­ter says noth­ing in bud­get will lead to protests

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY KEITH DOUCETTE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Af­ter a vo­cal in­dus­try back­lash over the elim­i­na­tion of the film tax credit last year, Nova Sco­tia’s finance min­is­ter is promis­ing noth­ing in the up­com­ing pro­vin­cial bud­get will lead to protests.

Finance Min­is­ter Randy Delorey didn’t re­veal any specifics about the 2016-17 fis­cal plan in the an­nual pre­view speech be­fore the Hal­i­fax Cham­ber of Com­merce on Wed­nes­day, in a de­par­ture from the pat­tern set by his pre­de­ces­sors.

Last year, then-finance min­is­ter Diana Whalen used the same speech to warn of pend­ing changes to the prov­ince’s film tax credit, a move that even­tu­ally sparked wide­spread protest by the in­dus­try.

Delorey said he isn’t ex­pect­ing the same re­ac­tion this time around.

“There will be some things in the bud­get that I think will be of a mag­ni­tude, but I think they will be things Nova Sco­tians will be happy to see,’’ he told re­porters. “I don’t think we will see protests around prov­ince house.’’

Al­though most prov­inces are warn­ing of dire fis­cal mea­sures needed to rein in bud­get deficits, Delorey took a more mod­er­ate tone about Nova Sco­tia’s fi­nances, de­spite a pro­jected $241.2 mil­lion deficit.

He wouldn’t say whether the bud­get — to be tabled April 19 — would move to bal­ance the books, which the gov­ern­ment has pledged to do by the end of its man­date.

How­ever, he said it would stick with its pro­gram aimed at con­trol­ling costs as it grap­ples with a deficit fig­ure that grew twice in the past fis­cal year due to a drop in tax rev­enue and off­shore roy­al­ties.

“It should be ex­pected to see that progress con­tinue,’’ Delorey said. “As far as brac­ing for any ma­jor con­cerns, I think Nova Sco­tians will be com­fort­able with the bud­get.’’

Delorey told the au­di­ence of busi­ness lead­ers that there are signs of mo­men­tum in the econ­omy be­cause of progress on such things as low­er­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment. He said there was a net growth of 1,300 full-time jobs for young peo­ple in 2015.

“Mo­men­tum is build­ing, but we have more work to do,’’ he said. “We can­not stop be­ing re­spon­si­ble fi­nan­cial man­agers.’’

In a mea­sure that was pre­vi­ously an­nounced, Delorey said the bud­get would in­clude $3.2 mil­lion for the Grad­u­ate to Op­por­tu­nity ini­tia­tive to help busi­nesses hire new col­lege and univer­sity grad­u­ates.

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