NDP

Budget 2013 Brings Province Back to Balance

April 4, 2013


Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald tabled a balanced 2013-14 provincial budget today, April 4.

“Nova Scotia is turning the corner toward new opportunities and greater prosperity,” said Ms. MacDonald. “This budget follows through on the government’s commitment to balance and make life better for our seniors, small businesses, children and families.”

Some key initiatives from Budget 2013-14 include:

— reducing small business tax rates for the fourth year in a row, to three per cent

— funding insulin pumps and supplies for youth up to 19, and supplies for insulin pumps for people younger than 25

— expanding dental coverage for children by four years to allow children 13 or younger to receive universal dental coverage for checkups and treatment

— expanding newborn screening to include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and eight other conditions

— providing personal income tax relief to low-income seniors with a new non-refundable Age Amount tax credit

— helping students succeed in math with curriculum improvements in grades primary to 3 and 10, doubling the time Grade 10 students learn math

— targeted school board funding to support students with special needs, including plans to hire 25 new program and support staff, psychologists and speech language pathologists

 

The 2013-14 budget projects a surplus of $16.4 million.

Revenues for 2013-14, including net income from government business enterprises, are estimated at $9.5 billion, an increase of $210.9 million or 2.3 per cent from the 2012-13 budget estimates.

For the first time in more than a decade, revenue forecasts contained in the 2013-14 budget have received an unqualified opinion from the Office of the Auditor General.

The 2013-14 provincial budget will reduce the provincial tax rate for small businesses for the fourth year in a row. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the rate of corporate income tax for small businesses will drop to three per cent from 3.5 per cent. The small business tax rate, which was five per cent in 2010, was lowered half a percentage point in both 2011 and 2012. Eligible small businesses can apply this rate on the first $350,000 of taxable income.

This budget also includes an investment of an additional $6 million per year to give personal income tax relief to low-income seniors. Seniors with taxable income less than $24,000 will be eligible for a new $1,000 non-refundable Age Amount tax credit. Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients will continue to receive a refund of their provincial personal income tax if the new Age Amount tax credit does not reduce their tax liability to $0.

As reflected in March’s 2012-13 forecast update, the province’s spending came in above the estimate. Deficit is $356.4 million for 2012-13.

“We didn’t get back to balance the easy way, or at an easy time. The past four years required sacrifice and discipline,” said Ms. MacDonald. “We put our Back to Balance plan into action, increasing revenues, reducing government spending and growing the economy, while protecting public services.”

Spending restraint has been the cornerstone of the Back to Balance plan. Over the past four years, government has:

— held growth in spending flat, after it grew by an average of 6.6 per cent the previous nine years

— reduced the size of the civil service by more than 600

— introduced new wage patterns

— ended March madness

— developed a smarter purchasing plan to get better prices on contracts and services

— merged some administrative services in the district health authorities

— reduced drug costs for Nova Scotians

 

For more information on the 2013-14 provincial budget, visit

www.novascotia.ca .