Deficit not as bad as predicted to be - Metro US

Deficit not as bad as predicted to be

Nova Scotia is facing a slightly smaller deficit than originally predicted, according to a finance department forecasts released yesterday.

Despite lower-than-expected revenues, the 2010-11 deficit is expected to be $203 million — $18.8 million less than originally estimated.

Total revenues are forecast to be $8.7 billion, or $16 million less than budget estimates.

The decline in revenues is offset by a $12-million share of a national lawsuit settlement, as well as the increase in HST ($7 million), increased tobacco tax revenues ($6.6 million), and favourable interest rates decreasing debt servicing costs ($25.4 million).

Finance Minister Graham Steele said the slightly rosier forecast does not necessarily mean the province will be “back to balance” before scheduled.

“Our plan is, at the moment, to be back to balance in the budget I deliver in the Spring of 2013,” said Steele. “We’re still on track to be back to balance at that time.”

Of 18 government departments, only two — education and transportation, and infrastructure renewal — went over budget. Both departments’ additional spending is expected to be offset by recoveries.

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