April 12, 2018
Budget to be balanced for next four years.
On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the Honourable Karen Lynn Casey, Minister of Finance for Nova Scotia delivered a balanced budget for 2018-2019 with a projected surplus of $29.4 million. Nominal GDP growth is projected to be stable at 2.9% in each of 2018 and 2019. Debt to GDP is expected to drop to 32.1% by 2022.
Of Interest to Credit Unions
- Expanding the tuition relief program as an incentive to attract graduating doctors to set up practice in under serviced areas. This program will forgive up to $120,000 of a doctor's tuition if they are willing to practice in an under serviced area for at least five years.
- $275,000 to make permanent the Business Navigator service. This program helps guide entrepreneurs through provincial rules and regulations. (This 2017 pilot project received high grades from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business).
- Doubling the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund to $20 million. This program provides a number of opportunities for small businesses and credit unions across the province.
- $3 million to deliver more low-carbon efficiency programs and support local jobs in this sector.
- The province intends to introduce a new Innovation Equity Tax Credit and phase out the existing Equity Tax Credit. Officials provided few details on this announcement and we will follow-up on this.
- $250,000 to continue supporting first-time home buyers with their down payment. This program provides no-interest loans ranging from $7,500 to $14,000 to assist first-time home buyers meet the 5% down payment threshold on a new home.
- $120 million for a rural internet trust fund. This fund is to be disbursed in such a manner as to bring internet to under serviced communities and businesses.
- $460,000 increase to boost international marketing and recruitment efforts. Additional funds will strengthen province’s participation in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
- The province will increase the Basic Personal Amount, the Spousal Amount, and the Amount for an Eligible Dependant by $3,000 from $8,481 to $11,481.
- The Age Amount non-refundable credit will be increased from $4,141 to $5,606.
- As a result of these measures, an additional 63,000 tax filers (from 223,000) will no longer pay provincial income tax.
- The federal government will impose a federal excise duty of $0.25 per gram of flowering material in a cannabis product and will collect a $0.75 per gram additional duty on behalf of the province. This duty is expected to generate $10.4 million in revenues for the fiscal year. (The province projects that its cannabis retailer, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, will purchase 12 million grams of recreational cannabis and 1.8 million grams of medical cannabis in 2018-2019.)
- Nova Scotia's labour force grew by 0.6% in 2017-2018.
- Employment gains were concentrated in manufacturing, retail, and public administration.
- Employment losses were concentrated in resources, construction, transportation, finance, and health care.
- Average weekly earnings increased by 1.5%, and the Consumer Price Index rose by 1.1%.
- Retail sales grew by 6.2%. Residential construction investment expanded by 4.8%.
- Overall real GDP for 2017 is estimated to have grown by 1.4%, with nominal growth at 3.3%.
- Total revenues are forecast to be $10,810,152,000.
- Total expenditures are forecast to be $10,781,000,000.