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Nova Scotia taxing to balanced budget.

HALIFAX -- Going against the prevailing fashion, the Nova Scotia government has chosen to tax its way to a balanced budget. A sweeping series of revenue measures will add $271.4-million to the provincial treasury in the coming year. Almost all of the additional revenue--$230-million--will go into propping up the province's health-care system. Overall net program spending is expected to increase by 5.4 per cent in the coming year.

Going back on its election promises. The government

* reduced the 10-per-Cent cut in personal income tax

* increased 500 user fees,

* raised taxes on large corporation tax and the capital of financial institutions.

The government is putting an additional $78-million into hospitals and established a waiting-list monitoring committee. Spending on public education, universities, colleges, community services and roads will increase

Finance Minister Peter Christie told the legislature the Conservative government deliberately chose taxation in contrast to neighbouring provinces, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, which have leaned heavily on civil-service cuts to rein in their finances.

Anyone earning less than $29,590 a year will not be affected by the tax changes. Those taking home between $29,590 and $59,180 will lose a portion of the tax break promised before the last election, while anyone with income above that threshold will lose the benefit entirely. The Conservatives have also introduced a new high-tax category at the upper end of the scale for people earning more than $93,000 a year--a move that affects 18,100 people.

The Conservatives were reduced to a minority in the 52-seat legislature during last summer's election, and the budget measures are not likely draw opposition from the Liberals and the NDP.
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Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CNOV
Date:May 17, 2004
Words:274
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