Nova Scotia Budget

Nova Scotia’s NDP government released its provincial budget on April 6th 2010. Finance Minister Graham Steele said his $9-billion deficit budget was a deficit-busting plan and a “smart, strategic and steady plan”.

At the heart of the plan is a dramatic increase to the harmonized sales tax by raising their tax rate from 13% to 15%.

Despite the hefty tax increase, the NDP government still anticipates to record a large deficit next year. “We wish the legacy of unsustainable spending we have inherited didn’t exist, but it does,” Minister Steele told the CBC on the 6th.

But the budget wasn’t all doom and gloom: at least the rebate on home energy remains. CARP had lobbied the Ontario and British Columbian governments to include home energy rebates in their HST legislation. Home heating is a costly and non-discretionary expense.

Seniors and low-income Nova Scotians can expect to see some breaks from this budget. Seniors receiving the GIS will no longer have to pay the provincial part of their income taxes, a move which the government anticipates will affect some 18, 000 seniors in the province. The Minister said these seniors would receive about $12.5 million in tax refunds.

In addition, the approximate 25% of Nova Scotians who make under $30, 000 will be elegible for a new rebate called the Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit that will grant them $240 a year in four payments plus $57 for each child under 19 living at home.

Although the budget contained no specific spending measures that would allocate funds to continue the Caregiver Allowance, the Government renewed its commitment to expanding options for caregivers and allowing for enhanced self-directed care options in the throne speech. It stated that self-managed care allowances and personal alert assistance programs would be implemented for seniors at home. CARP will look with interest towards the work of the Nova Scotia Government will undertake in this area. To read an overview of the budget, please click here

Budget 2010-11 highlights:

• Projected deficit of $222 million.
• HST rises to 15%, as of July 1.
• Rebates for people making less than $30,000.
• New tax bracket for earners of $150,000 or more.
• 1,000 civil servant jobs gone over four years.
• Debt climbs to $14 billion.
• No balanced budget until 2013.

Keywords: taxes, budget, tax credits