26 Mar Nova Scotia Projects Fourth Consecutive Surplus in Budget 2019/2020
The Government of Nova Scotia issued its 2019/2020 budget today – balanced for the fourth year in a row. This commitment to living within our means is good for business, and good for the long-term prosperity of our province. Investments in health care were a welcome focus, as our province continues to struggle with this issue.
- $850,000 more for export development programming
- $500,000 increase for incubators and accelerators that support startup companies
- $2 million more for Invest Nova Scotia to fund projects that support competitiveness and productivity in sectors
- $2.5 million increase to Develop Nova Scotia’s budget to deliver on its new provincial mandate, including managing a plan to deliver better access to high-speed internet in underserviced areas
- $620,000 more to support increasing immigration numbers
- $15 million to expand and create tax credits that encourage investment in new and growing Nova Scotia businesses
- $415,000 to support marketing Nova Scotia seafood products
- $1.7 million increase to help move to ecological forestry
- $2 million to make progress on revitalizing tourism icons
- $15 million more, for a total of $300 million, for construction on Nova Scotia’s roads, highways and bridges, including twinning projects
Although these are welcome expenditures (particularly with regards to broadband), overall our economy continues to lag, and Nova Scotia’s tax rate is among the highest taxed provinces in Canada. We’ll continue to work with our partners to lobby government to invest in projects/activities that will stimulate the economy of this region, and the province as a whole.
Additional information on the 2019 Provincial Budget is provided by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce below.
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Applauds Fourth Consecutive Surplus
New funding and credits may not be enough to improve dismal growth projections
Having presented its fourth consecutive surplus budget, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is giving a positive assessment of the Nova Scotia government’s provincial budget. The Province of Nova Scotia has made significant progress in stabilizing its fiscal situation and if their forecasts pan out, the province will spend $33.6M less than it receives in 2019-2020. Equally laudable is the Province’s performance in stabilizing the size of the provincial debt.
“It is not surprising to see significant investments in healthcare in this year’s budget,” said Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. “Given the pressing need for solutions to physician access, the lack of long-term care beds, paramedic and ambulance services, and the need to replace aging infrastructure, it is appropriate government dedicate more resources.”
The Province’s track record of spending within its means and investing for future growth are fitting approaches to building a prosperous Nova Scotia. The provincial economy continues to expand, however, growth projections for NS are among the lowest in the country at 0.8% in real GDP. Under these circumstances the business community recommends the government look for more opportunities to encourage investment and stimulate consumer spending, both foundations of a healthy economy.
“As Nova Scotia continues to be one of the highest taxed provinces in Canada, it is discouraging that government not recognize the contradictory effect taxes have on government revenues,” added Somerville. “As marginal tax rates exceed willingness to pay, taxpayers are encouraged to find ways to reduce taxable income or invest elsewhere. Both responses result in reduced overall government revenues.”
- The budget does include several positive initiatives focusing on innovation, exports and trade enabling infrastructure. Particularly valuable are efforts to:
- Support innovation via incubators and increased research and development funding;
- Offset cost of direct investing in new and growing businesses ($15M);
- Invest in competitiveness and productivity improvements available to sectors and communities;
- Implement the Develop NS mandate to deliver high-speed internet to underserviced areas;
- Twin the most dangerous sections of our 100-series highways.
Chambers of Commerce are concerned that because the province has a rural population twice the national average, it is essential they work with communities to ensure businesses in smaller communities can attract and retain skilled workers.
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce recognizes that Nova Scotia government has achieved a very unique status in having presented a consecutive surplus budget under low growth economic conditions. It will require significant effort to protect this surplus, including a need to focus on cost control while enhancing the environment for business attraction and investment.
Visit ACC for more details/contact information.