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Tories 'still scrambling' to nail down budget details

Nova Scotia will be the last province in Canada to release a budgetthis year as finance officials continue to struggle to keep it balanced.

Nova Scotia will be the last province in Canada to release a budget this year as finance officials continue to struggle to keep it balanced.

“We’re still scrambling,” Finance Minister Jamie Muir said Thursday after a cabinet meeting.

“Revenues have been down. Take a look at the price of natural gas. You can see that, that’s one of our sources of revenues. So you know, it’s been a struggle.”

But Muir insists the budget will be balanced and it will arrive around the same time as last year. The 2008 budget was released April 29. Given the customary 30-day notice to recall the legislature, the government would have to make the announcement within days to meet that timeline.

All other provinces have either released a budget already or plan to by mid-April. Muir would not tell reports whether it would take a change in accounting measures to keep the budget balanced.

He also condemned the opposition parties for a “political circus” this week when they grilled Deputy Finance Minister Vicky Harnish for not releasing budget details.

Muir said the information will come out at the scheduled time and denied any information was being held back for political reasons.

“I really don’t think there will be an election. I mean if you were the opposition parties, why would you force an election?” Muir asked.

“Because you’re in third place,” offered one reporter, citing a recent poll.

“I don’t think we are in third place,” Muir replied. “I think in the minds of most Nova Scotians we’re in first place with a majority government. And we should be.”

Reporters then asked if the Tories had internal polling telling them that.

Muir said that yes, he did. “I can’t speak for the party. I’m speaking for me,” he said.

 
 
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