HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Finance Minister Karen Casey tabled the 2020-21 provincial budget Tuesday. Here are some highlights:
- A forecast surplus of $55 million is projected on spending of just over $11.5 billion, with debt at $15.7-billion.
- Economic growth is forecast to drop to just 0.4 per cent in the wake of the closure of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County. It was 1.9 per cent in 2019.
- Infrastructure spending will see a record increase, with a 51 per cent hike in the capital budget for schools, road twinning and other infrastructure, going from $691.3 million to more than $1 billion.
- Help is offered to poor Nova Scotians by adding $54.3 million to the Community Services Department budget, increasing access to child benefits and raising limits for housing expenses in the welfare programs.
- There is a two per cent reduction in the corporate tax rate, from 16 per cent to 14 per cent, at a cost of $70.5 million, while there's a small reduction in the small business tax, which will cost another $10.5 million.
- Vaping products will be taxed starting in September 2020 and all retailers will be required to obtain permits to sell vaping products starting in July 2020.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.