26 Sep Investing in a Stronger and Healthier Nova Scotia
Your Liberal government has listened to Nova Scotians and we are proud to build on the budget we brought forward in the spring with additional investments.
Our budget will help strengthen communities through investments in health care, pre-primary education, and economic development. It also includes a tax cut for the middle class. This is the first time budgets have been balanced back-to-back in nearly a decade, and the strong position we are in now will allow us to continue to invest in things that matter to Nova Scotians.
Here are the additional investments from the budget tabled in April:
- $2.7 million more, for a total 2017-18 increase of $6.4 million, to hire more specialists, perform more orthopedic surgeries and offer new rehabilitation services to help patients to prepare for a successful surgery
- $846,000 to establish a new take-home therapies cancer program to help pay for high deductibles and copayments for cancer patients who need to take these medications at home
- $799,000 more, for a total of $1.36 million this year, to act on the opioid use and overdose framework and expand addiction treatment programs to eliminate the waitlist
- $1.8 million to expand youth mental health services and outreach across the province
- $192,000 for more youth mental health supports in Cape Breton resulting from the report by Dr. Stan Kutcher, including hiring an additional two guidance counsellors and one social worker for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board
- $750,000 additional investment, for a total of $4.5 million in 2017-18, to roll out at least 52 pre-primary classes at 45 sites with early learning programming for 4-year-olds –$238,000, for a total of $458,000, to support the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including the hiring of three community outreach specialists who have experience in dealing with trauma to provide cultural support to families and community members
- $2.5 million in the first year, for a total investment of $38 million over seven years, in the Atlantic Fisheries Fund.
“Nova Scotians spoke clearly that they wanted more investment in health care,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. “We listened, and this budget invests more to help further reduce surgical wait times and improve access to mental health care and addictions services, and to advance other priorities for moving this province forward.”
As Liberals, we know how important it is for people in our province to get the health care they need, when they need it. This includes investing in collaborative care centres, hiring more doctors and specialists, limiting wait times, increasing mental health supports and improving our hospitals through investments like the QEII redevelopment project – which has already begun.
Our budget also invests in the first year of a four-year roll out for free pre-primary for four-year-olds across the province. Education remains a priority for your Liberal government. We’re working with the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, ensuring no child goes to school hungry through Nourish Nova Scotia, investing in mental health services through Schools Plus, expanding the Reading Recovery Program, and rolling out our Pre-primary program for all four-year-old’s in the province. All of these investments will give our children the start they need and deserve.
Your Liberal government understands that creating a strong economy means helping young people find jobs and make a living here at home. We’re making further investments in things like Graduate to Opportunity, extending loan forgiveness eligibility, introduce a new First-time Homebuyer’s Assistance Program, reducing small business taxes by $14.1 million, and much more. We know investing in our next generation of will help our province thrive.
We’re honouring our commitment to start reforming our tax system once it was affordable. Now that we’re able, we are cutting income taxes by increasing the tax-free basic personal amount by up to $3,000 for those with taxable incomes under $75,000. This will result in more than 500,000 Nova Scotians saving $85 million a year, and even better, it means a total of 283,000 people will not have to pay provincial tax at all.
“This is the largest income tax cut in our province’s recent history,” said Ms. Casey. “We are also providing tax relief for 1,800 small businesses to help them grow and hire more Nova Scotians.”
Our budget has a positive net position of $21.3 Million. Your Liberal government is looking forward to making these investments and continuing to build on a stronger Nova Scotia.