The numbers you need to know about from Nova Scotia’s 2019 budget
Nova Scotia’s government revealed its fourth straight balanced budget on Tuesday, tabling a document they say focuses on health care, education and the province’s communities and will allow for balanced budgets for the next three years.
Here are the numbers you need to know from budget and why they’re important.
125 new doctors since April 2018
The province says 125 new doctors have started working in communities across the province since April 2018 – with 57 of them being family doctors and 68 being specialists.
The health department says the central zone saw the majority of those hires with 31 family doctors and 38 specialists.
The eastern zone saw 11 family doctors and 11 specialists hired, the northern zone saw six family doctors and 10 specialists while the western zone saw nine family doctors and nine specialists.
All of those doctors have been retained over the past year.
The news comes in the wake of a previously announced plan to open 10 new family practice residency seats at Dalhousie University’s Medical School.
The increase is projected to cost $1.1 million and bring the total number of seats to 65.
The province says they’ll also be increasing the number of seats at the specialty practice residency program at Dal’s Medical School.
They’re planning to open 15 seats a year for the next five years, meaning the total number of seats will go from 50 to 125.
WATCH: Highways and health-care lead Nova Scotia’s 2019-2020 Capital Budget
25 per cent drop in cannabis revenue
Sales of legal marijuana are not on fire in Nova Scotia as the province is projecting a 24.9 per cent decrease in cannabis tax revenue,
The province is estimated to take in $10.4 million in cannabis tax revenue for the 2018 fiscal year and is projecting $7.8 million for the upcoming fiscal period.
This isn’t wholly unexpected, as the government says they are once again revising their sales estimates for the cannabis market.
The revised figures are based off of market trends which show limited sales due to product shortages and limited online sales.
The province said the new estimate doesn’t take into consideration of edibles, despite the product’s impending legalization.
Federal legislation allows for the sale of edibles on Oct. 17, 2019, but Nova Scotia says they remain bullish on sales since Health Canada has yet to reveal their regulations for the new product.
As a result, the province says it remains uncertain on when edibles will officially enter the legal market.
$200,000 to support doctor recruitment
Nova Scotia is kicking in an extra $200,000 to support doctor recruitment in the province’s communities.
The funding, which will be implemented through the Department of Communities Culture and Heritage, is part of the Culture Innovation Fund.
The Culture Innovation Fund has an annual budget of $1.5 million and for this year $200,000 will be dedicated to recruiting doctors.
It’s one of the only expenses for doctor recruitment in the budget.
$22 increase for income assistance
Nova Scotia is predicting an increase of $22– or two per cent increase – to the average individual receiving income assistance.
That comes from $5.6 million in funds that the province says will help introduce the standard household rate – a wage exemption for individuals on income assistance.
This means Nova Scotians on income assistance will get the maximum amount they are eligible for, as well as the aforementioned rate increase.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that individuals will get more money from the government each month, but that they will have the ability to earn more money from their job before they see clawbacks by the government.
WATCH: What tax changes to expect in 2019
$75 million for tax credit to spur investment, business
Nova Scotia is creating a series of three new tax funds to spur investment in the province’s business sector.
The province has introduced a corporate tax credit which corporations can use in a similar fashion to the innovation equity personal tax credit that was announced last year.
The personal tax credit is pegged at $10 million while the corporate tax credit is $2 million.
Nova Scotia is also putting $3 million towards a venture capital tax credit which they hope will be used to encourage investment in new and growing businesses.
The fund will be open to individuals and corporate investors.
The venture capital fund – which pools cash from investors and is controlled by a professional fund management company that will select a portfolio to invest in — must be based in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia says the $3 million will be broken down into two parts; $2 million for the personal credit and $1 million for the corporate credit.
The corporate tax credit and the venture capital tax credit will all be a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit and are effective April 1, 2019.
Finally, the accelerated capital cost allowance tax incentive is meant to allow the province’s businesses to recover the cost of capital investments, such as machinery and equipment.
The province says $60 million has been set aside for the capital cost tax incentive, which the province says will help Nova Scotia companies stay competitive with U.S. firms that are receiving American tax credits.
–With files from Sarah Ritchie.
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