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Province turns to public for deficit advice on 23-stop tour

The NDP is kicking off a road show to elicit help from Nova Scotians on how to climb out of deficit.

The NDP is kicking off a road show to elicit help from Nova Scotians on how to climb out of deficit.

Finance Minister Graham Steele and staff will make at least 23 stops in 16 communities by the end of February to hold town hall-style meetings on how to fix the province’s finances.

It’s the latest move by a government looking for the least painful way to get into the black.

First they commissioned a report from the firm Deloitte that outlined a $1.4-billion deficit gap by 2012-13.

Then they convened an economic panel for expert advice.

Now they’re asking everyday Nova Scotians what should be done.

“We know there’s no quick fixes to the problem,” Finance Minister Graham Steele said Thursday. Steele noted the only three tools at hand are growing the economy, hiking revenue and cutting expenses. He said all three will be necessary.

The tour itself will cost $63,000 plus some added overtime for staff. Of that, $18,000 goes to publicity, $11,000 is for technical requirements and $35,000 goes to Becky Colwell of Fourth Wave, who will organize and host the events.

On the list

The first stop is Jan. 22 in Sydney. A schedule of the first tour dates is online at gov.ns.ca/finance.