News Release Archive

Finance Minister Bill Gillis today announced the province has
added $60 million to the health care budget. Good financial
management is helping Nova Scotia find the money without
incurring a deficit, he said.

"Over the past few years, we have managed our finances to get
advantage of lower interest rates," said Dr. Gillis. "Lower
debt-servicing costs is a major reason why the province has been
able to put more money into health care and still keep the
overall budget in balance.

"Nova Scotians have told the government that quality health care
is their No. 1 priority. This decision helps us meet those

News of the extra funding was released today in the province's
first quarter financial report. Cabinet also approved a 0.2 per
cent increase, or $3.7 million, in the budget for Community
Services, and an additional $700,000 for the Westray prosecution.

Dr. Gillis said the money to fund the improvements in health care
comes from a variety of sources. "Interest rates have stayed
lower than expected. That has played an important role in meeting
these challenges."

The first quarter financial report shows a $37-million reduction
in estimated debt-servicing costs for 1997-98. The remainder of
the money needed for funding improvements is made up by changes
in prior years' spending estimates, the deferral of some
spending, and small budget cuts in a number of departments. As a
result, Dr. Gillis said, the province is now expected to turn in 
a $1-million surplus on spending of $4.2 billion this year.

The finance minister said the government is committed to
maintaining a balanced budget. "This means we must make difficult
decisions when faced with demands for extra spending in key areas
such as health care. In this case we have been able to
accommodate the demands by trimming spending in a number of
departments, and taking advantage of lower-than-expected
debt-servicing expenses."

The first quarter financial report covers the three months ending
June 30, 1997, and does not take into account adjustments in
revenue. "We expect to have updated information from Ottawa later
this year and will announce any adjustments in our revenue
forecasts in the next quarterly report," said Dr. Gillis.
"However, we believe it is too early to say if there will be any
significant change one way or the other, and that is why many
departments were asked to trim spending estimates."

The prior years' spending estimates involve changes to provisions
made in the previous fiscal year. For instance, last year the
government set aside $15 million to cover the cost of a new
school in Sydney if a satisfactory agreement could not be reached
with the private partners on a lease arrangement. It is now
believed that a satisfactory arrangement is possible, and the
provision for funding is no longer required. The result is a
favourable adjustment to the current budget.

Similarly, an adjustment of $2 million is being made for an
unexpected recovery in sales tax revenue from the previous year.
As well, there is an adjustment of $3.1 million for last year's
capital spending accounting under the infrastructure program, for
a total of $20.1 million. None of the adjustments to prior years'
estimates affects current spending.


Contact: Bruce Cameron
         Department of Finance

         Lori MacLean
         Department of Health

ngr                 September 18, 1997                11:00 am