Nova Scotia Journal

N.S. budget notices a giant leap in health spending, a $500M deficit

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • The P.C. budget also provides money for reasonable accommodation and makes deed transfer tax for non-residents.
  • Finance Minister Allan MacMaster tabled a paper Tuesday with $12.7 billion in earnings.

Health care defeated the Progressive Conservative election campaign the previous summer, so it should come as no shock that it does the same with the party’s first funding since starting government in August.

But opposition leaders set it doesn’t go far enough to support those most in need and cited the decision not to raise revenue assistance rates when the expense of living is increasing.

Finance Minister Allan MacMaster tabled a document Tuesday with $12.7 billion in earnings and $13.2 billion in expenditures, with a deficit of $506.2 million.

Spending on health care rose by $413.3 million from last year, including $20.6 million more on mental health and $142.5 million more on persisting care. MacMaster directed the document as a “compassionate budget.”

Read more: 4 Nova Scotia universities to share a one-time grant boost of $105M

opposition leaders set it doesn’t go far enough to support those most in need

“It is for all the people and their households who waited for a physician, a surgery, a nursing home room, a place to stay,” he said. “At its heart, this budget is regarding solutions for the most fundamental needs we have today.”

MacMaster told journalists that the government effort in health care is “transformational” and expects people to start to see apparent differences in the system.

The Tories’ try to restore health care includes spending $3.2 million to build 200 new nursing school seats across the region, at Cape Breton University (28), Dalhousie University (26), St. Francis Xavier University (26), and 120 licensed practical nursing seats at Nova Scotia Community College.

As it works toward constructing new long-term care spaces, the government pays $11 million to convert or expand 190 existing beds for long-term care patients.

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