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  • Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Applauds Fourth Consecutive Surplus

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    Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Applauds Fourth Consecutive Surplus

    New funding and credits may not be enough to improve dismal growth projections

    Windsor, NS (March 29, 2019) - Having presented its fourth consecutive surplus budget, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is giving a positive assessment of the Nova Scotia government's provincial budget. The Province of Nova Scotia has made significant progress in stabilizing its fiscal situation and if their forecasts pan out, the province will spend $33.6M less than it receives in 2019-2020. Equally laudable is the Province's performance in stabilizing the size of the provincial debt.

    “It is not surprising to see significant investments in healthcare in this year’s budget,” said Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. “Given the pressing need for solutions to physician access, the lack of long-term care beds, paramedic and ambulance services, and the need to replace aging infrastructure, it is appropriate government dedicate more resources.”
    The Province’s track record of spending within its means and investing for future growth are fitting approaches to building a prosperous Nova Scotia. The provincial economy continues to expand, however, growth projections for NS are among the lowest in the country at 0.8% in real GDP. Under these circumstances the business community recommends the government look for more opportunities to encourage investment and stimulate consumer spending, both foundations of a healthy economy.
    “As Nova Scotia continues to be one of the highest taxed provinces in Canada, it is discouraging that government not recognize the contradictory effect taxes have on government revenues,” added Somerville. “As marginal tax rates exceed willingness to pay, taxpayers are encouraged to find ways to reduce taxable income or invest elsewhere. Both responses result in reduced overall government revenues.”
    The budget does include several positive initiatives focusing on innovation, exports and trade enabling infrastructure. Particularly valuable are efforts to:
    • Support innovation via incubators and increased research and development funding;
    • Offset cost of direct investing in new and growing businesses ($15M);
    • Invest in competitiveness and productivity improvements available to sectors and communities;
    • Implement the Develop NS mandate to deliver high-speed internet to underserviced areas;
    • Twin the most dangerous sections of our 100-series highways.
    Chambers of Commerce are concerned that because the province has  a rural population twice the national average, it is essential they work with communities to ensure businesses in smaller communities can attract and retain skilled workers.
    The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce recognizes that Nova Scotia government has achieved a very unique status in having presented a consecutive surplus budget under low growth economic conditions. It will require significant effort to protect this surplus, including a need to focus on cost control while enhancing the environment for business attraction and investment.
    About the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
    As the strong, credible and unified voice that influences an environment where business in Atlantic Canada succeeds, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) represents more than 16,000 businesses through its network of 93 chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the four Atlantic provinces. ACC is a catalyst to influence, educate and advocate on policy related issues to support business, deliver high-value services and opportunities to our members, and to support and promote initiatives that contribute to sustainable economic growth in the region.
    For more information:
    Patti Colson
    Coordinator, Communications & PR