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Nova Scotia's Liberal government has introduced its first budget since coming to power. (Anjuli Patil)

Finance Minister Diana Whalen has introduced the Liberal government's first budget since coming to power.

Here are some of the highlights. 

Taxes

  • Taxes aren't going up, but they aren't going down either.
  • The Liberal government said the Harmonized Sales Tax remains at 15 per cent because lowering it would increase the deficit to $426 million.
  • The Guaranteed Income Supplement and non-refundable Age Amount tax credit, which exempts low-income seniors from paying provincial income tax, will continue.

Post-Secondary Education

  • As previously announced, the government will eliminate the interest on the provincial portion of students loans for eligible students who have entered repayment on or after Nov. 1, 2007. That's expected to cost the $1.6 million this year.
  • The Liberals have scrapped the Graduate Retention Rebate, which is expected to save about $49.5 million this year. Graduates will receive the rebate for the last time in the 2013 tax year. The government said the program cost roughly $43 million last year.

Education

  • The Department of Education has been allotted $1.2 billion this year and represents the second largest expenditure in the budget.
  • Classes for students in Grade Primary to Grade 2 will be capped at 20 students come September 2014, down from the previous cap of 25 students. The Grade 3 class sizes remain capped at 25 students.
  • Hiring more teachers to retain that cap is expected to cost $7.2 million this year.
  • Math and literacy programs, including the reintroduction of the Reading Recovery program for Grade 1 students, is expected to cost $5.9 million.