Communities in northern 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 104 from Sutherlands River to Antigonish.
Highlights in Budget 2017-2018 for northern Nova Scotia include:
— upgrades to Highway 104 in Antigonish County – Paq’tnkek
— funding for a new Primary to Grade 4 school in Bible Hill and a new Primary to Grade 12 school in Tatamagouche
— renovations to River Hebert District High School in Cumberland County and Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School, Sutherlands River, Pictou County
— a skilled trades centre at Amherst High School
— funding for emergency room expansion and pharmacy redevelopment at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow
— funding for the North Cumberland Health Centre project
— funding for the construction of a new trades innovation centre at the NSCC Pictou campus
— off-highway vehicle pilot projects in Amherst and Sherbrooke, Guysborough Co.
Northern 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
— improvements to rural Internet access
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 http://www.novascotia.ca/budget.