News Release Archive


The release of details on an $8 million direct assistance program
for the province's working poor finalizes what now stands as a
$33 million annual government commitment to low income Nova
Scotians, Finance Minister William Gillis said today.

The $8 million direct assistance program is part of a pledge made
in the 1996/97 provincial budget to implement tax reforms which
benefit all Nova Scotians, Mr. Gillis said. Many Nova Scotians
will benefit from the 3.4 per cent decrease in their income tax
next July 1, but many of those who do not make enough money to
pay income tax, need special assistance, he said.

"Around the same time that most Nova Scotians will see their pay
cheques grow, many of the working poor, who do not pay income
tax, will be receiving their cheques in the mail," the minister

Mr. Gillis said that under the direct assistance program,
eligible individuals will receive annual payments of $90, whereas
eligible families will receive $125 annually. The new program
will apply to most single people over the age of 19, with a net
income below $9,500 per year. Families earning up to $16,500
qualify for $125 in direct assistance. People making more than
these amounts become eligible for the low income tax reduction

Many seniors will benefit, said the minister, because federal
government payments of Guaranteed Income Supplements will not be
counted in determining income.

An estimated 77,000 people will be eligible. Application is
limited to individuals and families not receiving significant
benefits from other provincial government assistance programs.

The new program adds to the $25 million package started in 1994
when the government offered $13 million in tax assistance to
155,000 low income Nova Scotians. Another $12 million was added
to enhance the package in the 1996/97 budget, thus helping an
additional 65,000 people.

"Taken together, these programs ensure that low income
individuals and families share in our stronger economy. We have
balanced the books, we are lowering taxes and this program make
sure everyone benefits," the minister said.

Individuals who have access to other government programs, such as
social assistance, students or people supported by the province
in long term care facilities will, in most cases, not be
eligible. Exceptions are made for students who had been in school
for less than four months in the previous year, and social
assistance recipients who had received benefits for less than
three months the previous year.

A copy of the previous year's income tax return will be used to
verify eligibility. Application forms will be available in Access
Nova Scotia outlets and other public locations next spring. The
program will be administered by the Department of Business and
Consumer Services. A help line, explaining details, will begin in
January, 1997.


Contact: Bruce Cameron  902-424-8787

NOTE TO EDITORS: Mr. Gillis will be available to the media this
morning at the House of Assembly.

trp                         Dec. 13, 1996 - 9:26 a.m.