The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s net debt grew to a record $14 billion in the last fiscal year, the provincial government said Wednesday as it gears up for an election.
Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald released the figure Wednesday in the government’s audited financial statements for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended March 31.
The statements also say that the deficit for the last fiscal year was $302.5 million, down from the $356.4 million it was expecting for that year when it released its spring budget.
In April, the province’s NDP government tabled a $9.5-billion budget for 2013-14 that included a predicted $16.4 million surplus.
MacDonald said the most recent numbers reflect prudent management of the government’s finances. To highlight that point, she pointed to the latest budget forecasts from April rather than the figures from the last fiscal year.
“We restored fiscal discipline and presented a balanced budget for 2013-14, while still protecting and making important investments in the services Nova Scotians value most,” she said in a statement.
But the figures released Wednesday show the province’s net debt stood at $14 billion at the close of the fiscal year, a $571 million jump from the previous year. A Finance official said is the highest net debt the province has even seen.
Premier Darrell Dexter, whose New Democrats were elected to govern with a majority in 2009, must call an election before June of 2014.