Nova Scotia budget to feature lower small business taxes, balanced books

Nova Scotia budget to feature lower small business taxes, balanced books
Nova Scotia Finance Minister Randy Delorey has confirmed the upcoming budget will feature lower small business taxes and balanced books. Global's Natasha Pace reports.

Nova Scotia’s finance minister says the province is set to deliver a balanced budget when it is tabled next month and it will also come with lower taxes for small businesses.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia legislature’s spring sitting set for April 25, with budget April 27

Randy Delorey told reporters and those in attendance at a Halifax Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday that the government would be presenting another balanced budget. Last year’s budget had a slim surplus of $17.1 million.

In his pre-budget speech, Delorey said Nova Scotians would see the province ending one fiscal year in surplus and beginning another in balance. The government says this is the first time in nearly a decade that back-to-back balanced budgets have been tabled in  the province.

This year, in addition to revealing they would deliver a balanced budget, he also said cuts to red tape for small businesses would be introduced.

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The small business income threshold will rise to $500,000 from $350,000, according to a release. Delorey says it’s a move that will benefit over 1,000 small businesses.

“The tax rate that businesses right now, over $350,000, pay 16 per cent,” Delorey said. “For those businesses that earn income between 350 (thousand) to the new threshold of 500 (thousand), will see that portion reduced to three per cent.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia celebrate federal budget aligned with provincial plans

Regulations will also be reduced, Delorey said, with cuts to red tape worth $25 million to businesses in 2017-18.

While opposition parties seem pleased there will be some tax relief for small businesses, Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston says the spending priorities of the Liberals have been disconnected from the priorities of Nova Scotians.

He’s also concerned government may have built a balanced budget around assuming they’ve dealt with outstanding issues on the labour front involving public sector workers.

“The fact that they’re balancing the budget, you have to see are they balancing it in a way that’s helpful to Nova Scotians as opposed to harmful to Nova Scotians,” Houston said.

Meanwhile, N.S. NDP leader Gary Burrill believes the Liberals will not be making the serious investments needed in the classrooms and long-term care facilities in the upcoming budget.

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“I think the Minister of Finance made [it] very clear in his emphasis on a balanced budget that this is the direction the government will be going,” Burrill said. “We are about to be presented with a budget that is going to fail to make the key investments that the province needs,” Burrill said.

Nova Scotia’s budget is set to be tabled April 27, two days after the legislature resumes for its spring sitting.