CHARLOTTETOWN -- Prince Edward Island's new minority Tory government has tabled its first budget -- projecting a $1.8-million surplus.
Finance Minister Darlene Compton says the priorities outlined in the budget draw on the best ideas the government heard from all three parties in the legislature.
"Our plan today is built on the good work of the previous government and some great ideas from all parties in this assembly," she said during her budget speech Tuesday.
The Tories hold 12 of the Island's 27 seats, while the Greens have eight and the Liberals have six. One seat is vacant.
The government plans $36.3 million in new spending on health care services, which is a 5.4 per cent increase over last year.
A new 30-megawatt wind farm will be started this year at a total cost of $60 million and is expected to be in operation by 2020. More money is being allocated to build affordable housing units.
"Our budget plan includes further commitments in this fiscal year of $2.2 million in rent supplements and $4.4 million to build affordable supply in partnership with community and non-governmental organizations, developers and the federal government," Compton said.
The Island's small business tax rate will drop by half a percentage point to 3.0 per cent on Jan. 1, 2020, making New Brunswick the only province with a lower rate east of Manitoba.
But the Opposition was quick to pan much of the budget for not going far enough.
"I appreciate we are still in the early days of this new administration, but I still can't help but feel that almost all the budget is warmed-up Liberal leftovers," said Green finance critic Michele Beaton.
However Beaton said the Green party was pleased with an increase in education funding and a plan to add 32 new teachers and 42 new educational assistants. Compton said education spending will increase by $19.2 million -- a 7.7 per cent increase over last year.
She said the province is in an enviable position with both its economy and population growing.
-- By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.