Nova Scotia running $678.9 million deficit instead of predicted surplus for 2013-2014

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Nova Scotia is running a $678.9 million deficit, the province announced July 31 as it released the public accounts for the last fiscal year, instead of the predicted surplus.

The annual public accounts compare the actual financial results at the end of the fiscal year to the budget plan set out at the beginning of the year. It’s an accountability document to taxpayers that includes financial information of departments, Crown corporations and boards, salaries, payments to suppliers, and travel and other expenses.

This year’s audited financial statements for the 2013-2014 year show the $678.9 million deficit, which is mainly attributed to sharply lower revenues and a large one-time expense. The 2013-2014 budget estimated a $16.4 million surplus.

The one-time expense was a $318.3-million pension valuation adjustment, which was announced in the December forecast.

"The public accounts for 2013-14 further emphasize the difficult fiscal journey we have ahead and the importance of getting to sustainable public finances in this province," said Diana Whalen, minister of Finance and Treasury Board. "A clear and deliberate approach for both the economy and the government will give us the ability to meet unexpected needs without relying on deficit budgets."

Total revenues were $10 billion, a decrease of $231.4 million from the estimate, due primarily to a $145.6-million reduction in royalties from the Sable offshore project as costs to wind up the project have risen, and a prior-year reduction in personal income taxes and HST of $101.6 million.

Total expenses were $10.7 billion, an increase of $463.9 million from the estimate, primarily due to the pension valuation adjustment. This includes departmental spending, which increased $69.7 million. Some of increased funding was used to:

• meet the needs of more Nova Scotians on social assistance and their complex cases

• clear and salt the roads during a very stormy winter

• enhance programming at schools

Year-end additional appropriations totalling $33.6 million were approved. Total appropriations for the year were $438.4 million, mainly due to the pension valuation adjustment.

Net debt was $14.8 billion, $772.7 million above budget estimate. This is a result of the deficit plus the net investment in capital assets. Net debt-to-GDP was 37.8 per cent.

The auditor general has provided an unqualified opinion of the public accounts for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. In his opinion, the 2013-2014 financial statements fairly present the consolidated financial position of the province in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector.



Organizations: Treasury Board

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Valerie
    August 01, 2014 - 21:17

    If you want to cut the deficit in this province, why not look at keeping our young people in this province instead of letting them leave for work in other provinces. One way to address this problem is to make it mandatory, as it once was not too long ago, for people to retire at the age of 65 when employed by the government. I worked for the provincial government for almost 33 years and when you became 65 years of age you had to retire. Now, since our wonderful ex-premier Rodney MacDonald passed legislation and made it legal for people to work for the government as long as they are able to perform their duties in their job, where does that leave our young people, out of work with less jobs in the government sector. The young people who could be working in these jobs can't because a lot of the old people won't retire. Oh, I know that most of these people still holding onto these jobs will say "the young people won't work as dedicated as we do", well bull****. Young people don't want to work in jobs where they are called in to work when someone doesn't show up and get a few hours here and there. Make these full time jobs with benefits. The young people are the ones who build new homes, buy new furniture, do landscaping around their homes, etc. etc. which puts money back into the system and keeps the economy moving. The older people have done all of these things and working for them is, in the most part, gravy on top of everything else. Come on, make some changes that will do some good for the economy and maybe the tax base will grow for the province.