New Brunswick government tables $10.2 billion budget with a surplus

The New Brunswick government has tabled a $10.2 billion budget that projects a $129 million reduction in the province’s net debt.

Finance Minister Ernie Steeves presented the fiscal plan Tuesday as the Opposition Liberals promised to vote against the plan in a bid to topple the minority Progressive Conservative government.

Steeves says it’s a good budget that lowers debt and puts money back in the pockets of New Brunswickers.

The budget calls for health spending to increase to a record $2.9 billion, which includes money for hiring more nurse practitioners and launching an immunization registry.

Gas taxes are set to decrease by 4.63 cents per litre, effective April 1, and social assistance rates will increase for the first time since 2014.

The leaders of the Green and People’s Alliance parties have said they want to see the budget details before deciding how they’ll vote.

Highlights from the New Brunswick budget:

– The province’s $10.2 billion budget for 2020-21 includes a projected surplus of $92.4 million.

– New Brunswick’s net debt will be reduced by $129.3 million, reaching $13.7 billion by the end of March 2021.

– Health funding is increasing by 3.9 per cent to $2.9 billion.

– Interest rates on the provincial portion of student loans will be reduced to the prime rate from the prime rate plus 2.5 per cent.

– Social assistance rates will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

– As part of the New Brunswick carbon plan, gas taxes will decrease by 4.63 cents per litre, effective April 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2020.


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