Finance minister begins budget discussions

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Nova Scotians are invited to talk about the province's finances, economy and business climate as Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen begins a conversation about the budget.

Finance Minister Diana Whalen

Discussions begin today, Feb. 7, at Sydney Academy, where Whalen will ask high school students how they envision their future in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, and what kinds of opportunities they would like to see.

"A number of organizations and groups are traditionally consulted in the weeks leading up to a provincial budget," said Whalen. "I'd like to take more time to thoughtfully consider the issues raised.

"I'm looking forward to a broad, meaningful, ongoing approach that will allow government to consider innovative ideas and important feedback throughout the year."

Whalen is meeting with diverse groups across the province to hear ideas and thoughts on a number of topics, including Nova Scotia's fiscal situation, demographic challenges, retirement security, taxes, the business climate and youth retention.

"This is the first time this important demographic will be consulted in budget discussions," said Whalen. "I'd like to begin important conversations with our youth about post-secondary education, skills training and what it will take to keep them here."

Over the next few weeks, Whalen will make stops in Port Hawkesbury, Antigonish, Amherst, Truro, the South Shore, Annapolis Valley, Yarmouth and Halifax Regional Municipality. She will meet with a variety of groups including businesses, community organizations and community members.

After Budget 2014-15 is released, Whalen intends to continue discussions about the province's finances with groups across the province.

Letters have been sent to key groups, encouraging them to share budget ideas with her by emailing budget@gov.ns.ca

Other ways to participate are

• send a submission through www.novascotia.ca/finance

• talking with a local MLA

• tweeting @NSFinance

• sending a letter to the minister at Department of Finance and Treasury Board, Box 187, Halifax, B3J 2N3.

For more information, go to www.novascotia.ca/finance

Organizations: Sydney Academy, Department of Finance and Treasury

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Halifax Port Hawkesbury Annapolis Valley Yarmouth

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