Finance and Treasury Board Minister Randy Delorey confirmed government’s commitment to strong fiscal management amidst continuing economic uncertainty in government’s first budget 2015-16 update.
Government issued the forecast update today, Sept. 21. The deficit is forecasted to be $122.5 million, an increase of $25 million from budget estimate of $97.6 million.
It is mostly due to slower growth in provincial tax revenue and higher costs associated with home care and the previous harsh winter.
“Continuing economic uncertainty means we have to continue to be diligent in our spending and fiscal management to maintain our fiscal plan and achieve a balanced budget in 2016-2017,” said Mr. Delorey. “We will continue to make tough choices and control spending while making strategic investments in education, home care and to reduce health-care wait times. Labour is our largest single expense and we need to get it under control if we are to achieve balanced budgets.”
Highlights of the update include:
— total revenues forecast to be $9.9 billion, down $10 million
— provincial tax revenues forecast down $36.6 million (including reductions in personal income tax, $14.1 million; corporate tax, $7.1 million; HST, $6.6 million; and tobacco taxes, $4.3 million; but decreases being partially offset by higher revenues from government business enterprises, $16.3 million, and cost recoveries, $6.1 million)
— total expenses forecast to be $10 billion, up $11.6 million, mainly because of an increase in home-care utilization and continuing costs from a harsh winter
— debt-servicing costs forecast to go down $3.0 million, mainly from continued low interest rates
— four departments needed additional appropriations totalling $13.2 million, with the two largest being Health and Wellness ($5.7 million for increased home-care utilization and other costs) and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal ($3.5 million to repair equipment damaged last winter and for other costs)
For more information, see the Department of Finance and Treasury Board website at www.novascotia.ca/finance .