The Canadian Press
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government has delivered a $9.6-billion budget that forecasts a deficit of $279 million in 2014-15.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Premier Stephen McNeil answers questions at One Government Place.
The Liberals had warned that the budget, their first since winning power in October, would be in the red.
Although revenues are up slightly at $9.6 billion, mainly due to a bump in personal income tax, overall departmental spending has increased by $455 million resulting in the deficit.
The government is increasing spending for health by $194.1 million, with $32.6 million to support home care services and another $10.6 million for programs aimed at recruiting and hiring doctors in rural areas of the province.
In education, the government will spend $18.6 million this year, including $7.2 million toward capping class sizes from Primary to Grade 2.
Another $3.5 million has been set aside for early literacy initiatives including the re-introduction of a reading program.
The government has also decided to eliminate a graduate retention rebate that provided university graduates with a maximum annual tax credit of $2,500, saving the government $49.5 million.