Budget 2013 Brings Province Back to Balance

Published by the Department of Finance

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald tabled a balanced 2013-14 provincial budget Thursday, April 4.


Nova Scotia is turning the corner toward new opportunities and greater prosperity. This budget follows through on the government's commitment to balance and make life better for our seniors, small businesses, children and families. Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald

We didn't get back to balance the easy way, or at an easy time. The past four years required sacrifice and discipline. We put our Back to Balance plan into action, increasing revenues, reducing government spending and growing the economy, while protecting public services. Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald

From buying groceries to being able to afford to stay in their homes and live comfortably, tax reductions like these can make a huge difference in the lives of Nova Scotia seniors. This is especially true for seniors on low or fixed incomes, who will benefit the most from these changes. Bill Poole, president, Community Links, which promotes age-friendly communities

The chamber, representing our members, told government that the business community wanted to see a balanced budget, reduced small business tax and reduced HST. We saw all of that, so we feel we were heard. Going forward we're also looking for information about plans to pay down the debt, the Expenditure Management Initiative, jobsHere, and the skills crisis. These are very important issues that need to be addressed, in order to make Halifax more competitive. Paula Gallagher, Halifax Chamber of Commerce

Offering small businesses like mine better support and easier access is a big step in the right direction. The province offers a lot of programs and services, but I'm sure I'm not the only business owner who's had a hard time figuring out which programs are the right ones. More one-on-one support to talk through the options will be really helpful, and leave me more time to focus on growing my business. Jeff Slipp, CEO Stomp Labs, which designs and builds guitar effects pedals

Quick Facts

  • Some key initiatives from Budget 2013-14 include:
    • reducing small business tax rates for the fourth year in a row, to three per cent
    • funding insulin pumps and supplies for youth up to 19, and supplies for insulin pumps for people younger than 25
    • expanding dental coverage for children by four years to allow children 13 or younger to receive universal dental coverage for checkups and treatment
    • expanding newborn screening to include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and eight other conditions
    • providing personal income tax relief to low-income seniors with a new non-refundable Age Amount tax credit
    • increasing funding for women's shelters and centres for the second time in a decade
    • helping students succeed in math with curriculum improvements in grades primary to 3 and 10, doubling the time Grade 10 students learn math
    • targeted school board funding to support students with special needs, including plans to hire 25 new program and support staff, psychologists and speech language pathologists
  • The 2013-14 budget projects a surplus of $16.4 million.
  • Revenues for 2013-14, including net income from government business enterprises, are estimated at $9.5 billion, an increase of $210.9 million or 2.3 per cent from the 2012-13 budget estimates.
  • For the first time in more than a decade, revenue forecasts contained in the 2013-14 budget have received an unqualified opinion from the Office of the Auditor General.
  • The 2013-14 provincial budget will reduce the provincial tax rate for small businesses for the fourth year in a row.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the rate of corporate income tax for small businesses will drop to three per cent from 3.5 per cent.
  • The small business tax rate, which was five per cent in 2010, was lowered half a percentage point in both 2011 and 2012.
  • Eligible small businesses can apply this rate on the first $350,000 of taxable income.
  • This budget also includes an investment of an additional $6 million per year to give personal income tax relief to low-income seniors.
  • Seniors with taxable income less than $24,000 will be eligible for a new $1,000 non-refundable Age Amount tax credit.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients will continue to receive a refund of their provincial personal income tax if the new Age Amount tax credit does not reduce their tax liability to $0.
  • As reflected in March's 2012-13 forecast update, the province's spending came in above the estimate. Deficit is $356.4 million for 2012-13.
  • Spending restraint has been the cornerstone of the Back to Balance plan. Over the past four years, government has:
    • held growth in spending flat, after it grew by an average of 6.6 per cent the previous nine years
    • reduced the size of the civil service by more than 600
    • introduced new wage patterns
    • ended March madness
    • developed a smarter purchasing plan to get better prices on contracts and services
    • merged administrative services in the district health authorities
    • reduced drug costs for Nova Scotians

Learn More

Media Contact

Andrew Preeper
Department of Finance
Cell: 902-222-0266


Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald speaks during a pre-budget briefing.
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Budget 2013-14 is balanced.
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Premier Darrell Dexter leads applause as Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald reads her budget address.
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Premier Darrell Dexter reads his copy of the budget address as Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald delivers her speech.
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Premier Darrell Dexter presents Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald with a small bottle of black ink after her budget address, signifying the province's return to the black.
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A page carries a stack of budge documents.
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Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald pauses during her budget address.
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Premier Darrell Dexter watches Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald deliver her budget address.
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2013 Budget Address for the Province of Nova Scotia


Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald says the government returned to balance by talking to experts, including Nova Scotians, and then developing a plan.
She says the province has turned the corner on 20 years of the slowest economic growth in Canada.
Ms. MacDonald says it means a better today and a better future.
She says fiscal sanity has returned to the province.
She says the economy is getting stronger and growing.