News release

Province Will Reduce Harmonized Sales Tax in 2014-15

Premier Darrell Dexter announced today, April 2, that the province's surplus will be significant enough in 2014 to lower the harmonized sales tax (HST) by one percentage point, and another percentage point in the following year, bringing it back to 13 per cent in 2015.

Government will introduce legislation this spring to make the HST reductions law.

"Nova Scotians shared the challenge of getting our province back to balance, and they will also share the direct and indirect benefits of a balanced budget," Premier Dexter said in the House of Assembly. "This government is reducing the HST when the province can afford to take that step without creating a deficit and adding unnecessary debt.

"That is the responsible and disciplined approach to making life more affordable for Nova Scotia families."

In August 2009, an independent financial review showed the province was headed for a $1.4-billion deficit.

Finance Minister Graham Steele responded by conducting the single largest budget consultation process in the province's history. He met with thousands of Nova Scotians in all regions and heard that temporarily restoring the HST to 15 per cent was a reasonable step to put the province back on a sustainable path.

Government used that feedback and advice from leading economic advisors to develop Back to Balance, a multi-year plan that takes a balanced approach to growing the economy, reducing spending and increasing provincial revenues.

The premier said government will stick with that plan because it is clearly working.

"This government knows that a balanced budget opens up more, and better choices. It also means the province can ensure key public services like health care and education are there for Nova Scotians when they need them."

The province continues to make significant progress toward a balanced budget in 2013-14. In March, Mr. Steele announced that the forecast deficit for 2011-12 is down $128.8 million from the budget estimate, due largely in part to restraint and good financial management.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Premier Darrell Dexter announced today (April 2nd), that the province's surplus will be significant enough in 2014 to lower the harmonized sales tax (H-S-T) by one percentage point, and another percentage point in the following year, bringing it back to 13 per cent in 2015.

Government will introduce legislation this spring to make the H-S-T reductions law.

Premier Dexter says Nova Scotians shared the challenge of getting the province back to balance, and they will also share the direct and indirect benefits of a balanced budget.

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Media Contact:

Jennifer Stewart
Premier's Office 902-424-0007 Cell: 902-497-7198 E-mail: