With the release of the government’s 2017 fall budget, here is a rundown of how it will impact Nova Scotians.
1. Anyone owning a small business is in luck: up to 1,800 are eligible for a tax break as the threshold has been raised from $350,000 to 500,000.
2. Affordable housing in NS is receiving a $38 million cash injection, including for building new units.
3. The government is putting $40 million to municipal clean water and wastewater projects.
4. Seniors stand to gain from $3.2 million to boost food budgets and recreational activities for those in long-term care homes.
5. School students will get $1.8 million for community and mental health support through SchoolsPlus
6. University students will gain from $1.7 million more for the Graduate to Opportunity Program, which links up Master’s and PhD graduates with employers.
7. Tourism is receiving a $2 million boost to revitalize major attractions.
8. Getting around should become easier as highways are twinned and $10 million is going towards gravel road maintenance.
9. The 2017-18 budget projects a $131.6 million surplus, including a one-time increase of $110.3 million from federal and municipal contributions for the convention centre in Halifax.
10. The budget also includes the Capital Plan investing $515 million in roads, schools, healthcare and infrastructure.
1. Projected revenues are down by $13.1 million compared to April’s figures.
2. At the same time, departmental expenses are up by $19.1 million.
3. The government has faced criticism over the level of funding for mental health and addictions – pointing to the closure of the Aberdeen Hospital’s mental health unit – which is unlikely to re-open.
4. The projected $131.6 million surplus is lower than the $149.6 million surplus from 2016-17.
5. Global developments such as Brexit, a possible renegotiation of NAFTA and economic growth in China may harm Nova Scotia’s economy and negatively impact future budgets.
Rising interest rates raising household debt costs and provincial debt servicing may also threaten Nova Scotia’s economic