Budget Bouquets

We know what the opposition parties are saying about Maureen MacDonald’s first Nova Scotia budget. They had their negative lines written before it was even introduced. But what about the independent observers out there? Here is a review:

Nova Scotia's NDP joins Saskatchewan and BC as the only provinces able to balance their budget this year.

Nova Scotia’s NDP joins Saskatchewan and BC as the only provinces able to balance their budget this year.

Valerie Payn, President, Halifax Chamber of Commerce:

The Chamber commends the provincial government for slaying the deficit. Eliminating the deficit was a cornerstone piece of the Chamber’s policy priorities for 2013, and we are pleased to see that the government is out of the red and back to black. Nova Scotia’s jobsHere Strategy has assisted small business through many incentives, and we are pleased that the government will continue to fund this strategy for Chamber members…

We commend the government for following through on its commitment to further reduce the small business tax from 3.5% to 3%.. We are also encouraged to see that the government remains committed to rolling back the HST by 1% in 2014 and 1% in 2015.

Jonathan Williams, Executive Director, Students NS:

Nova Scotia students are very pleased as the Province has invested $4.6 million to improve the student assistance program for the third year in a row, bringing the government’s total new investments in student assistance to almost $23 million over the past three years. StudentsNS understood that the government is working under significant financial constraints and so we made modest but important requests for this budget. The government listened and has delivered on two of our most important requests, and that’s a big win for us.

The new commitments include:

An increase in the grant to loan ratio from 35/65 to 40/60 for $1.9 million
An increase in the maximum weekly student allowance to $180—$2.7 million

Lisa Matte, Canadian Diabetes Association:

The Canadian Diabetes Association commends the Government of Nova Scotia for the recent 2013 budget announcement for improved support for children and young adults living with type 1 diabetes. New funding will be used to provide insulin pumps to individuals 19 years of age and younger, and supplies for insulin pumps to individuals under 25 years of age.

An insulin pump program will not only improve the health and quality of life for many Nova Scotians living with type 1 diabetes, but will also improve the sustainability of the province’s healthcare system.

Ken Chan, Cystic Fibrosis Canada:

Our advocacy efforts paid off! Nova Scotia’s Finance Minister announced this afternoon that they are expanding screening. Thanks to Premier Dexter for bringing in cystic fibrosis newborn screening for families in Nova Scotia.