Nova Scotians need relief from under-funding not tax cuts: Alternative NS Budget

May 3, 2006

(HALIFAX): Nova Scotians continue to fall behind the rest of Canadians in the level of services they receive according to the Alternative Provincial Budget released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-NS). “Maintaining Investment in Nova Scotians”(APB) also finds the government has underestimated revenue by $474 million over the past two years.

The provincial government has a tendency to underestimate revenue. In the last budget, revenues were underestimated by 3.1%: the real surplus was $88 million higher that budgeted. This tendency, according to John Jacobs, Nova Scotia Director of the CCPA, “stifles public debate about how funds should be allocated to meet public demands for improved services and infrastructure such as for transportation, child care, affordable housing and safe drinking water.”

For much of the past decade, according to the Alternative Budget, governments in Nova Scotia have invested the least of all provinces on a per person basis. As a result the province is failing students struggling with the highest tuition fees in the country and low-income households that can’t make ends meet with declining income assistance. The cultural sector in Nova Scotia is experiencing perpetual under-funding. Long-term challenges are not being adequately addressed, such as the need to revitalize health care and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The overriding fact, according to John Jacobs, “is that the provincial government is not investing enough in programs, services and infrastructure to keep pace with the rest of the country.”

According to the Alternative Budget, Nova Scotia needs to invest an additional $500 million annually just to bring its level of investment in citizens and the economy up to average per capita expenditures of the other Atlantic provinces. It needs to invest an additional $300 million on top of this annually to bring it up to the national average.

“So what is the provincial government proposing to do about the need for program investment?” asks Jacobs. “Apparently the premier is intent upon tax cuts. This will decrease the province’s fiscal capacity to address these challenges. Tax cuts come at a price – they undermine the province’s ability to make the crucial investments that provide the improvements in programs, services and infrastructure that citizens are asking for. Tax cuts also undermine the province’s ability to weather slower economic growth and spikes in interest rates.”

The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget presents a fiscal plan that invests all revenue increases in services, programs and infrastructure, while managing the provincial debt without cutting or increasing taxes.


“Maintaining Investment in Nova Scotians: Nova Scotia Alternative Provincial Budget 2006-07” is available at To arrange an interview, please call John Jacobs at 477-1252 (cell 430-7461).