Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Liberal Government Bucks Trend, Promises Back-to-Back Balanced Budgets

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Liberal Government Bucks Trend, Promises Back-to-Back Balanced Budgets

Article excerpt

N.S. Liberals promise balanced budget

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Liberal government is committing to a balanced budget for 2017-18 -- its second straight year in the black, as red ink keeps flowing in other East Coast provinces.

Randy Delorey confirmed during a speech to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Tuesday that the April 27 budget will confirm the government has balanced its 2016-17 books, and will introduce a balanced budget for the year ahead.

"That is exciting, that is important. But one balanced budget does not fiscal sustainability make," Delorey told the audience.

In neighbouring New Brunswick, Brian Gallant's Liberal government has projected a $192 million deficit by the end of March 2018, while Newfoundland and Labrador is facing a $1.6 billion deficit this year and $800 million next year.

In Nova Scotia, the governing Liberals have made fiscal responsibility a key part of their political message, and will likely tout their back-to-back balancing of the books if they call an expected election later this year.

The government has been making a steady flow of small spending announcements in recent months that has added fuel to speculation a campaign call isn't far away.

Delorey also promised Tuesday that the Liberals will provide a tax break for small companies, matching a Progressive Conservative 2013 campaign promise to lower the threshold for the small business income tax rate.

He said the threshold will be rising to $500,000 from $350,000, meaning "more than 1,000 companies" will shift into the lower income tax bracket, paying rates of three per cent rather than 16 per cent on the income.

The cabinet minister declined to provide the cost to the public purse of the tax relief, but the Progressive Conservatives said when they costed the measure for their campaign document they estimated it would be about $4. …

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