New Brunswick

New Brunswick budget: 11 takeaways from Cathy Roger's 1st budget

The Gallant government says it remains on track to be rid of the deficit in 2020-21

HST increase helps Gallant government bring in more money, but government spends all of it

The New Brunswick government is increasing the budget of the Tourism, Heritage and Culture Department 17.6 per cent, one of the largest increases in the spending plans presented Tuesday. (Courtesy of Fundy National Park)

Here is a quick rundown of key elements of the New Brunswick budget presented to the legislature on Tuesday.

  1. The deficit remains on track to hit $192 million in 2017-18. That's down from a projected $231.1 million in the current fiscal year.
  2. The government still forecasts the deficit will be gone in 2020-21, when it expects a surplus of $21 million.
  3. The province is both collecting a lot more money than it expected to (from equalization and higher than expected income tax revenue) and spending that money in equal amounts (mainly on infrastructure programs shared with the federal government.)
  4. There will be $200 million in HST revenue in the coming year, the first full fiscal year the 15 per cent rate will be in effect.
  5. The plan includes $82 million more in both spending and revenue as a result of the province now having to account for nursing home costs, a change recommended by the auditor-general.
  6. The province will spend $58 million on construction, maintenance and improvements to nursing homes over the next three years.
  7. The debt will reach $14.4 billion in 2017-18. That requires $700 million in interest payments on the debt.
  8. There are no new taxes or tax increases and no spending cuts.
  9. A price on carbon, whether as a carbon tax or through a cap-and-trade system, is not in the budget but must be in place sometime in 2018 to avoid Ottawa imposing one.
  10. There is one tax cut: the small business income tax will go down from 3.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent on April 1. This had been promised earlier.
  11. Major departmental budget increases are: Education and Early Childhood Development, 4.9 per cent; Post-Secondary Education, 5.4 per cent; Health, 3.3 per cent; Tourism, Heritage and Culture, 17.6 per cent.