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Baillie vows to balance books

Newly minted Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie says if elected premier of Nova Scotia, he’d commit to rolling back the NDP’s two-percentage-point HST increase.

Newly minted Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie says if elected premier of Nova Scotia, he’d commit to rolling back the NDP’s two-percentage-point HST increase.

But he says he’d only do so after balancing the books — and the specifics of just how to do that remain vague.

“We have to balance the budget first. It would not be responsible to do anything other than that,” he told reporters after being officially made PC leader on Saturday.

“Balanced budget first, lower taxes second.”

Baillie said with the next general election still 21/2 years away, he needs to figure out how exactly to accomplish this goal. He did say, however, there is only one way he knows to balance a budget.

“And that is to do the hard work of going line by line, department by department, agency by agency, pinching every penny,” he said.

The government is currently asking the health, education and community services departments to cut spending by five per cent, and all other departments to cut spending by 10 per cent.

Deputy Premier Frank Corbett said cutting spending doesn’t necessarily mean cutting service or jobs, but rather streamlining resources and reducing waste, a sentiment echoed by Baillie on Saturday.

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