Communities in central Nova Scotia will benefit from improvements to education, infrastructure and health care as part of investments in Budget 2017-2018.
“Our budget focuses on helping prepare our children, youth and young adults for opportunities to succeed here at home knowing that when we help families, we help strengthen our province,” said Finance Minister Randy Delorey. “We are also including supports for our aging population that will help older Nova Scotians stay involved and connected to their communities, promote healthy living, and keep older adults in the workforce.”
Government also announced major road improvement projects for the 100-series highways over the next seven years, including twinning Highway 103 from Tantallon to Hubbards, and Highway 107 (Burnside Connector) from Burnside to Bedford.
Highlights in Budget 2017-2018 for central Nova Scotia include:
— funding for a new Primary to Grade 12 school in Sheet Harbour, a new high school in Eastern Passage, a new south Dartmouth P-9 school, a new south peninsula elementary school and the J.L. Ilsley High School replacement in Spryfield
— a new skilled trades centre at Sir John A. MacDonald High School in Upper Tantallon
— expanded dialysis services at Dartmouth General Hospital and the Halifax Infirmary
— continued progress on the QEII redevelopment, which includes projects at the Halifax Infirmary, Dartmouth General Hospital, and Hants Community Hospital and a new community outpatient centre in Bayers Lake
— funding to develop and manage the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), expected to open in spring 2018
— an increase to the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund and to support The Mist
— funding to continue work to protect women and address sexual violence, including a new domestic violence court in Halifax
— the provincial investment to establish the Halifax Convention Centre, part of a $169.2 million cost-sharing agreement with the federal government and Halifax
Central Nova Scotia will also benefit from provincewide investments including:
–reducing taxes for more than 500,000 people through an increase of up to $3,000 to the basic personal amount, for incomes up to $75,000
— increasing the small business tax threshold to $500,000 from $350,000, reducing taxes for 1,800 small businesses
— support for the recruitment and retention of doctors
— a three-year investment in SHIFT: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for an Aging Population
— funding to increase access to affordable housing, in partnership with the federal government
— a new target to reduce red tape for businesses
— enhancements to the Graduate to Opportunity program to help recent graduates land their first job in Nova Scotia
–30 new pre-primary sites with early learning programming for four-year-olds with a plan to expand to provincewide in four years
— funding to hire school psychologists and speech pathologists
— the expansion of the reading recovery program in schools and an increased investment in coding and computer skills initiatives for Primary to Grade 12 students
— funding for Autism Nova Scotia to deliver a new pilot program to 50 families before they receive early intensive behavioural intervention services
Budget 2017-2018 projects a $136.2 million surplus. The surplus includes a one-time revenue increase of $110.3 million because of federal and municipal contributions for the convention centre in Halifax. The $110.3 million will go towards the debt to provide the fiscal capacity to launch a multi-year development of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, enhancing care for Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians. The resulting net position is $25.9 million.
Revenue and expenses (including consolidation and accounting adjustments) are both estimated to increase by 3.1 per cent from Budget 2016-2017.
Government will invest $515 million in roads, schools, health care and public infrastructure in 2017-2018 through the capital plan.
For more information about the 2017-2018 provincial budget, visit www.novascotia.ca/budget.