NS: Shadow looms over updated provincial budget forecast

Alex Boutilier
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Metro Halifax

The opposition is questioning the department of finance's new lower forecast and promise of an income tax cut.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie.

[HALIFAX, NS] — The fact that departmental spending came in under budget is of little surprise to Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie.

“When you look at the statement and see just about every department is claiming to be under budget, it makes you question the budget itself,” Baillie said Tuesday after Finance Minister Graham Steele unveiled his updated budget projections. 

“Expenses are still up over last year. This is the third year in a row we’re going to have a deficit budget.”

New forecasts from the department of finance predict a $260.8-million deficit for 2011-12. That’s down by more than $128 million from budget forecasts a year ago.

Total revenues rose by $7 million while expenses dropped by $113 million compared to the budget Steele tabled in April 2011.

Liberal Finance Critic Diana Whalen questions whether the NDP will follow through on a “modest” cut to income tax.

“We haven’t seen that cut yet to income tax. We don’t know if it’s even going to come,” she said. 

“We’ve had two years of increased fees and taxes, and that’s hurt all Nova Scotians. So I’ll wait and see whether or not there will be indeed any decreases in income tax … I don’t expect much and I think it will be a token, if anything.”

Organizations: NDP

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