Balanced budget good news but Nova Scotians need tax relief, says Taxpayers Federation

Author: Paige MacPherson 2019/03/26

HALIFAX, NS: Canadian Taxpayers Federation Atlantic Director Paige MacPherson is commending the Nova Scotia government on its fourth consecutive balanced operational budget, but warning the province to deal with the rising debt and heavy tax burden.

“It’s excellent to see another balanced operational budget from the McNeil government,” said MacPherson. “But the net debt is still growing by $200 million and the government is still increasing spending.”

Government departmental spending is increasing by $408.4 million.

“Working Nova Scotians pay some of the highest taxes in Canada and today their government did not deliver a nickel of broad-based tax relief,” said MacPherson. “The government announced millions more in corporate welfare and is spending $22 million on the Yarmouth ferry, including paying for U.S. infrastructure. Taxes for Nova Scotia families and businesses easily could have been reduced instead.”  

The province’s net debt is increasing to $15.3 billion this year.

“This year the government will throw away $856 million on debt interest payments,” said MacPherson. “That’s money that will go to the big banks instead of new hospital beds or doctors. The government needs to stop increasing the debt now.”

Major federal transfers, including equalization, are increasing by $148.6 million this year, while the province’s internal revenues are going down. The government’s operational budget surplus is $33.6 million.

“We need jobs and doctors now,” said MacPherson. “Premier McNeil should lower taxes to make Nova Scotia a more attractive place to live, work and invest.”

The CTF released its 2019-20 Nova Scotia Pre-Budget Submission, Make Way for Growth, in January. It can be viewed here.