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Income tax indexing highlights Nova Scotia budget

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The Nova Scotia government is projecting another hefty deficit for its new budget as it aims to create a lunch program for schools and offer more resources for health care.

Allan MacMaster, minister of finance and treasury board, revealed the province’s 2024-2025 budget (subtitled Building Nova Scotia, Faster). The government estimates there will be $16.5 billion in expenses and $15.8 billion in revenue, resulted in a project deficit of $467.4 million.

The province also projected a $40.3 million surplus for the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

“While Nova Scotians greatly value healthcare, they are also looking for help with the cost of living. They are going to get it in the form of indexed tax brackets and other supports in this budget,” MacMaster said in the release. “We are listening to Nova Scotians and making important investments in ways that will make a difference.”

A news release from the province noted health-care spending has grown by $1.9 billion in the last three years and the sector will see another large influx of money in this budget. The province says it will spend:

  • $360 million on IWK Health and Nova Scotia Health
  • $301.7 million for Halifax Infirmary expansion and Cape Breton Regional Municipality health-care redevelopment projects
  • $184.3 million on the Action for Health plan
  • $108.3 million on construction and renewal of hospitals and medical facilities
  • $36.2 million to move the province toward universal addiction and mental health services
  • $41.5 million to improve cancer care treatment
  • $9.6 million for a plan to build 5,700 new and replacement long-term care spaces by 2032
  • $1.8 million for the Acadia University nursing program

Beyond health care, the province announced it will spend $18.8 million a year on a new public school lunch program that will roll out over four years and eventually have an annual $100 million investment by 2027-2028.

They also pledged $208.5 million to build and renovate schools and $5.8 million to support the redesign of provincial preschool autism services.

Taxes and the cost of living were another major topic in the budget.

“Beginning January 1, 2025, indexing personal income tax brackets, the basic personal amount and certain non-refundable tax credits to Nova Scotia’s inflation rate,” the province said in a news release about the budget. “It will be the largest tax break in the province’s history and will save Nova Scotians about $150- $160 million per year in taxes by 2028.”

In a news release, the Liberal Party called for a two-point reduction in the HST.

"This change would save Nova Scotians money nearly every time they have to spend, and it will also make our province more attractive for business and people in important sectors, like health care and labour," said Zach Churchill, leader of the Liberals.

Other big ticket items include:

  • $483.3 million for major 100-series highway construction projects
  • $55 million for gravel roads
  • $36 million for the maintenance and repair of rural roads
  • $35.3 million to build new public housing units
  • $27.1 million for NSCC student housing projects
  • $15 million (which is part of a $47.3 million three-year commitment) to expand cellular service in the province
  • $3.6 million for a rapid housing initiative in Halifax
  • $3 million to develop a Clean Energy Fund
  • $1 million to strengthen responses to inland and coastal flood risks

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page

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