$447 million surplus: N.S. gets budget shock ahead of budget drop
HALIFAX, N.S. - Darrell Dexter promised to bring change when Nova Scotians elected an NDP government in 2009, but no one expected the shock the premier just gave the province.
The premier told the legislative assembly Tuesday, the night before the 2011 budget drops, his government had a $447 million surplus, $667 million more than the deficit it predicted last year.
Dexter took the opportunity to point out it’s only the seventh time a Nova Scotia government ended a fiscal year with a surplus, but the opposition says with a “mistake” that big the NDP could use a math lesson.
The Liberal leader says Dexter duped the province when it raised the HST last summer to 15 per cent.
“Nova Scotians can now understand they cannot trust a word that comes out of this NDP government,” says Stephen McNeill.
“They know they've inflated expenses intentionally. They did it so they could dig into the pockets of Nova Scotians. They did it so they could raise taxes, raise user fees.”
Dexter says he plans to put the surplus towards paying down the provincial debt, which at the start of the 2010-2011fiscal year stood at $13 billion.
Finance Minister Graham Steele will table the new budget this afternoon, predicting a $370 million deficit.
With Tuesday night’s surplus announcement, critics both in and out of the legislature are already calling on Dexter to roll back the HST and are asking why school boards must close down schools in the next year.globalmaritimes.com