Improving the lives of Nova Scotians, building on economic success, modernizing much-needed infrastructure and fostering confidence in a brighter future are the focus of government's fifth consecutive balanced budget.
"As a new decade begins, I am hopeful and optimistic about the future of our province. All Nova Scotians deserve to see benefits from the province's stronger economy and our positive fiscal position," said Minister of Finance and Treasury Board Karen Casey. "Budget 2020-21 supports Nova Scotians who may not have been feeling the success of the province. For our province to thrive now and in the future, we need to ensure our citizens receive the programs and services they need."
Budget 2020-21 estimates a surplus of $55 million with revenue of $11.60 billion and expenses, after consolidation adjustments, of $11.54 billion. It also projects balanced budgets in each of the following three years.
Budget 2020-21 highlights that will benefit Northern Nova Scotia include:
-- building on the $50 million trust and other transition commitments, $5 million in each of the next two years for a new Forestry Innovation Rebate Program for forestry companies with eligible projects that improve production processes or diversify products and markets
-- twinning Highway 104 between Sutherland's River and Antigonish to improve capacity and safety, a multi-year project
-- $54.3 million to renew community-based hospitals around the province, including the North Cumberland Health Centre in Pugwash
-- $75.3 million this year for the new Doctor's Master Agreement to improve the recruitment and retention of medical professionals - this investment will mean that family, emergency and anesthesia doctors will be the highest paid in Atlantic Canada and other specialties like psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology will be among the highest paid in the region
-- $750,000 increase this year to further develop collaborative care teams to make it easier for Nova Scotians to see a doctor or other primary care clinicians, for a total annual investment of $28.4 million
-- $1.4 million increase to support a comprehensive provincial approach to combat human trafficking
-- $17.5 million to expand the free Pre-primary Program for four-year-olds to every area of the province and an additional $4 million to bus service for eligible pre-primary students in September 2020
-- $18 million to increase the low-income threshold for the Nova Scotia Child Benefit and increase the amounts families will receive and help address child poverty. Families with incomes below $34,000 will now be eligible, benefiting almost 28,000 families and 49,000 children
-- $18.7 million increase for the second year of initiatives to provide safe, suitable and affordable housing under the Nova Scotia Action Plan for Affordable Housing, part of the National Housing Strategy, and other housing priorities
-- $4.1 million increase for the Integrated Action Plan to Address Homelessness
-- $10 million increase for J-class roads maintenance
-- $5.3 million increase to enhance long-term care in the province, for total long-term care funding of $612.4 million
-- $70.5 million to reduce the Corporate Tax Rate by two per cent to 14 per cent to help Nova Scotia businesses become more competitive, innovate, reinvest in their businesses and grow
-- $10.5 million to reduce the small business tax from three per cent to 2.5 per cent, savings which helps companies invest back into their businesses and employees
-- $15 million increase to continue implementing the recommendations from the Commission on Inclusive Education to create a more inclusive education system for all students, bringing the total investment to $45 million
-- Budget 2020-21 contains $1.04 billion for capital projects including schools, roads and highways
-- the budget also contains the final forecast for 2019-20, which updates the surplus to $41.1 million
-- additional appropriations related to the forecast, totalling $133 million, account for unplanned spending by nine departments and assistance to universities
For more budget highlights, visit: https://novascotia.ca/budget/
To view the budget documents, visit: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/budget-documents-2020-2021