5 big announcements from the P.E.I. budget
4 areas of new spending and a tax cut
With $107 million in new spending in the P.E.I. provincial budget, there are few areas of government that did not see a boost in the new fiscal year.
Here are some of the larger projects the government announced.
Finance Minister Heath MacDonald promised a $17 million investment in affordable housing over the next two years.
That will include new units, renovations to existing units and rent supports.
MacDonald said the government was aiming for 1,000 new units over the next four years, including 300 this year. He noted the government had already issued RFPs for units in Summerside and Charlottetown.
Small business tax cut
The small business tax rate will drop 0.5 per cent in this fiscal year. MacDonald said this initiative will save businesses up to $2,500 a year.
In addition, the government is introducing a 15 per cent rebate on investments owners make to improve business.
MacDonald said the government introduced the rebate, rather than lowering the tax rate further, to maximize business investment, rather than savings for business shareholders.
An additional $17 million in the education and early learning budget is going to bring more teachers to the classroom, additional classroom supports and more childcare spaces.
- 19 new classroom teachers.
- 25 frontline positions, including EAL and education assistant positions.
- 32 education assistant positions.
- 200 new childcare spaces.
The new childcare spaces are in addition to 200 already announced by the federal government.
Childcare workers will see a 2 per cent pay increase, and funding for childcare subsidies will also go up.
Funding for autism services in classrooms is up $600,000.
Island Advantage for post-secondary students
The budget introduces Island Advantage, which will provide support for post-secondary students on top of the George Coles Bursary.
- $3,600 for first UPEI or Maritime Christian College degree.
- $1,200 for first diploma at Holland College or College de l'Ile.
The debt reduction grant, available to graduates living on P.E.I. within three years of graduation, will increase from $2,000 per year of study to $3,500.
Tax rebate on electricity
The government will rebate the provincial portion of the HST on the first block of residential electricity.
In addition, the government will also rebate the provincial portion of the HST on firewood, wood pellets, and propane used for home heating.