The new Affordable Living Tax Credit, worth $70 million annually, will lessen the impact of the HST restoration to make life more affordable for Nova Scotian households with low or modest incomes. Households earning less than $30,000 will receive quarterly payments, similar to the existing GST credit. This credit will return about $240 per person and $57 per dependent child every year. Those earning up to $34,800 will also receive a portion of the credit. A new point-of-sale rebate will remove the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax on children’s clothing, footwear, feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers. This means approximately $11 million will be returned to families in every region of the province. Seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement will no longer have to pay provincial income tax. This means about $12.5 million will be returned to about 18,000 senior citizens across the province. The new Poverty Reduction Credit will return about $3 million annually to about 15,000 individuals. Patients who need treatment not available in Nova Scotia may be eligible to receive up to $1,000 for round-trip travel costs and $1,500 for accommodations for up to 12 medical visits a year. Low-income homeowners will benefit from an investment of $2.5 million to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their energy bills over the long term. $128 million will be invested in building affordable housing units and upgrading existing ones across the province. -30- For further budget information, see the Department of Finance website at www.gov.ns.ca/finance . BRING BETTER HEALTH CARE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY The province of Nova Scotia is tabling a budget in fiscal 2010-11, with a deficit of $222.1 million. This is the first year of a four-year fiscal plan to return to a balanced budget. Total revenues for 2010-11, including government business enterprises’ net income of $348.6 million, are projected to be $8.7 billion, an increase of $327.8 million over the 2009-10 estimates. Provincial source ordinary revenues are estimated to be up $409.9 million offset by a $82-million decrease in federal source ordinary revenues. Other revenue sources including fees and other charges, recoveries, and sinking fund earnings are up $8.2 million. Provincial source revenues have increased primarily as a result of increases in HST revenues of $231.6 million, income taxes of $137.1 million, tobacco tax of $24.8 million and petroleum royalties of $22.6 million offset by a $10.6 million decrease in the Large Corporations Tax. Federal source revenues are down from the 2009-10 estimates due to decreases in equalization payments of $104.2 million and a decrease in the crown share adjustment payment of $45.9 million, offset by increases in the amount accrued for the Offshore Agreement of $47.2 million and increases in the Canada Health and Social transfers of $27.9 million. Total expenses for fiscal 2010-11, before consolidation adjustments are budgeted at $9 billion, down $49.7 million from 2009-10. Increases in program spending for departments include: Health $212.7 million; Education $30.2 million; Community Services $25.7 million; Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations $12.1 million; Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal $23.0 million; and Labour and Workforce Development $22.1 million. They will be offset by a decrease in assistance to universities of $395.2 million. A Change and Innovation Fund has also been established in Treasury Board, with an estimate of $15 million. This fund will be used to incent change and encourage departments to consider efficiencies and innovative ways of achieving their business and service objectives. It also includes $3 million for the Emergency Department Protection Fund and $2 million is related to the government commitment on community schools. Spending has increased for tax credit and rebate programs, which includes $52.5 million for the Affordable Living Tax Credit and $2.3 million for the Poverty Reduction Credit. Restructuring costs, a portion of which is for funding of wage negotiations, is down $67.4 million from 2009-10. Pension Valuation adjustment has decreased by $80.5 million from the 2009-10 estimate of $89 million as a result of changes to the pension plans. Debt servicing costs are up $70.1 million as a result of an increased borrowing program. Authority for the annual cost to acquire provincially owned assets is reflected in the tangible capital assets appropriation. Gross capital purchase requirements in 2010-11 total $579.9 million, which includes an investment of $310 million in the highway system, $190 million for buildings, including schools, $42.6 million for information technology, $23.2 million for vehicles and equipment, and $14.1 million for land and land improvements. In addition, capital funding has been provided to the following government units: $96.2 million for the district health authorities and IWK Health Centre, and $34.5 million for the Housing Development Corporation to leverage federal cost sharing for social housing projects. GETTING BACK TO BALANCE — LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS CREATE SECURE JOBS AND GROW THE ECONOMY Total capital investment is forecast to be $710.6 million. Stimulus investments are expected to create 7,000 person-years of employment, generating about $300 million in income. The province will contribute $33 million to support infrastructure projects at our universities and the Nova Scotia Community College. Provincial funding is leveraging $56 million from the federal government and $41 million from other sources under the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program for a total of $130 million. To improve road safety, government is adding $400,000 annually to enhance bridge and truck inspections. The Manufacturing and Processing Investment Credit will put $25 million back into business by boosting innovation and productivity in the province’s manufacturing and processing sectors, particularly in rural Nova Scotia. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the small business tax rate will be reduced by 0.5 per cent, which will save small businesses $500,000 this year and $6 million in 2011-12. The Equity Tax Credit put in place earlier this year is expected to provide $1.1 million in new incentives to support Nova Scotian enterprises. Government will create 250 new seats at the Nova Scotia Community College targeted to high demand trades and professions. A tax rebate of up to $15,000 over six years will be provided for university graduates and up to $7,500 for college graduates. This rebate is being provided for those who stay and work here at home, returning about $17 million into the hands of Nova Scotia’s best and brightest. $2 million will help support and invest in community schools. $4.4 million will be spent completing the broadband project, providing high-speed access to all areas of the province. An investment of about $24 million will go towards energy conservation and programs for energy efficiency. MAKE LIFE MORE AFFORDABLE Of the $1.4-billion fiscal gap identified by the Expert Advisory Panel, in 2012-13, $1.1 billion will be eliminated through expenditure management and restraint. Spending growth will remain relatively flat due to aggressive savings targets, adding up to about $772 million by 2013-14. A comprehensive analysis of all department, agency and third-party spending will be undertaken to identify cost-control and cost-saving opportunities. In the health sector, opportunities will be looked at in areas such as health authorities shared efficiencies, streamlined health-care services, and drug costs In the education sector, we will investigate savings through: a modernization of the school system and opportunities tied to student enrolment decline Government will rely on attrition achieved through retirements and voluntary departures to make the civil service 10 per cent smaller by 2013. The Legislative Expenses budget line has been reduced by $1.3 million to reflect the new level of more accountable MLA expenses. Effective July 1, Harmonized Sales Tax will be restored to 15 per cent, providing an additional $214.8 million in revenue this year. To reduce wait times for surgery, an investment of $1.3 million will set up pre-hab teams to work with patients prior to surgery. This initiative will ease the stress on the health-care system. A $3-million ER protection fund will improve service and access by implementing initiatives identified by the province’s Emergency Care Advisor on Emergency Care. Government will spend $4.8 million to help patients move faster through the ER to admissions by opening hospital beds and establishing a Rapid Assessment Unit. Nurse practitioners will be placed in nursing homes to augment care, save money and relieve pressure in other areas of the system. Self-managed care allowances and personal alert assistance programs will be implemented for seniors at home. Transition houses and women’s centers will be provided with an additional $500,000 this year. Recreational, cultural and life-skills programming will be provided for youth through an investment of $240,000 annually in after school Lighthouse programs.