Halifax—The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia releases its 12th annual Alternative Provincial Budget today. Strengthening Connections, Connecting Communities is a fully costed budget that invests to build a stronger economy more rooted in our communities and better able to respond to the diversity of community needs.
Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director of the CCPA is concerned, "Unemployment in Nova Scotia is high at 9.3%. This is a waste of productive resources. It represents thousands of people who want to earn a living and contribute to our society. There are thousands more who have given up. Who can blame them? In Cape Breton, job seekers are competing with at least 16 others for each job vacancy."
"We need a jobs and growth budget," says Saulnier, who also served as Coordinator of the Alternative Provincial Budget.
Economist and contributor, James Sawler says about our fiscal situation, "Without doubt, Nova Scotia’s fiscal situation is better than it has been in years. The relative sizes of Nova Scotia’s deficit and debt are manageable and declining, as is the cost of financing the debt. Our fiscal health, however, is only as strong and sustainable as the economic and social context of our province. The provincial government must make strategic investments to boost the sluggish economy and expand opportunities for all Nova Scotians."
"The Nova Scotia Alternate Provincial Budget's tax proposals are designed to increase the government’s capacity to finance a broad range of government services from which we all benefit," says Economist and contributor, Michael Bradfield. "The provision of public services is a form of income and wealth redistribution in our society. We all benefit if we reduce poverty as a community and because it costs more to help people manage to scrape by in poverty than to prevent poverty and lift people out of it. Employers benefit from better skilled and flexible employees, and from better communications and distribution infrastructures which widen the markets for their products."
According to APB contributor Pamela Harrison, Coordinator of Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, "The need for adequate, safe, affordable housing is still very high in Nova Scotia. The Alternative Provincial Budget invests $75 million and begins to address the need for a continuum of more such housing, across the province. The new Nova Scotia Housing Strategy must reflect these concerns and include low-cost provisions including the reinstatement of rent controls."
"When you invest in post-secondary education you are investing in the future growth and economic prosperity of Nova Scotia," said David Etherington, Treasurer of the Canadian Federation of Students - Nova Scotia and contributor. "The alternative budget lays out a framework for education that is accessible, equitable and an economic driver for generations to come."
"The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget builds upon the resiliency and capacity of African Nova Scotians and African Nova Scotian communities. It seeks to redress historical inequities that have led to the disproportionately negative impact on us in the areas of Affordable Housing, Education and health," says APB contributor Sylvia Parris. "This budget takes an empowering approach to addressing the inequities and providing resources for substantive change."
The Nova Scotia APB 2013:
- Reduces inequality and inequity by investing in affordable housing, income supports, child care, post-secondary education and primary health care, creating jobs and growth
- Provides meaningful opportunities to participate in budgeting and in community economic planning
- Invests in rural economic development initiatives focused on food security, resilience, sustainable transportation, and broadband to strengthen community connections
- Sets Nova Scotia on a path to achieving economic security by investing in renewable energy, an energy security strategy and a Universal Service Plan that will benefit all Nova Scotians
- Increases the progressivity of the tax system including increasing and making the 5th tax bracket permanent (for those with taxable income over $150,000), shifting tax deductions to tax credits and taxing capital gains fully
The Nova Scotia Alternative Provincial Budget 2013: Strengthening Connections, Connecting Communities can be downloaded free at: www.policyalternatives.ca. For more information or to arrange interviews, contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 477-1252 or (902) 240-0926 (cell), or by email at[email protected].
The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability.