No provincial tax on funerals, no plastic shopping bags and lower taxes.
These are among the highlights of the Liberals’ $528-million four-year election platform unveiled Thursday. But what wasn’t said is where the money for it would come from.
The four-year Liberal plan includes new programs to make kids healthier, hire new lawyers, institute a family day and ban non-reusable plastic bags from grocery stores.
They also want to cut the gasoline and small business taxes, and get rid of the provincial tax on funerals.
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said he planned to implement the promises while guiding the province out of debt. But he didn’t set out how or when that would happen.
“We don’t know that because we don’t know how deep we are in deficit now,” McNeil said. “There’s not a politician in Nova Scotia who can stand before you and tell you they can offer a balanced budget tomorrow.”
Some elements of the Tory budget would be carried forward, such as increasing the tax on cigarettes. But McNeil didn’t say how many other Tory plans would be enacted by the Liberals.
The most expensive promise is cutting the gas tax by one cent per litre each year for the next four years. That would cost $8.75 million this year but go up to $70 million by 2012-13.
McNeil said that would provide a boost to the economy.
“This is about making our economy competitive,” he said. “It’s about creating jobs in the province.”.
The Liberals would also put a freeze on provincial fees. Any future increases would have to be debated in the legislature.
Other parts of the plan were not costed. The Liberals said they would work to move Nova Scotia off of coal power but set aside no money to do that. McNeil said he would work to ensure offshore natural gas resources flow to Nova Scotia instead of elsewhere.