Diana Whalen

Finance Minister Diana Whalen announced the budget will be a deficit. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia government will deliver its spring budget on April 3 and it will be a deficit, Finance Minister Diana Whalen announced Tuesday.

Whalen told the Halifax Chamber of Commerce that the deficit should come as no surprise given the last fiscal update in December when the government projected a $481.7 million deficit.

At the time, Whalen said the deficit was due to a large unfunded liability in the public service pension plan and a drop in government revenue.

"There is a point in which it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to keep providing the kinds of increases that have been seen in past years," she said Tuesday.

She said with revenue growth down and more individuals relying on community services, there are too many expenditures to balance the budget.

"This reinforces the wisdom of our government not to reduce the HST until we can afford it," said Whalen. Reducing the HST by one per cent would cost $195 million annually which is "something we realistically cannot afford at this time," she said.

The spring budget will be the first for the Liberals since they were elected in October.

With files from The Canadian Press