A Note From Hugh, March 2018

I hope that the beginning of Spring has brought renewed confidence and enthusiasm to you for the days ahead! That is certainly how I felt on Tuesday March 20th when my colleague, Finance Minister, Karen Casey, presented the 2018-19 Budget for the Province of Nova Scotia.

Minister Casey’s Budget is the third consecutive balanced budget brought forward by your provincial government. We are also forecasting balanced budgets for each of the next three years. We are living within our means while increasing our investments in key economic growth sectors and in providing stronger services and supports for all Nova Scotians.

There are four priorities to the government’s plan to create a positive and sustained impact on the economic and social well-being of our people and our province. These priorities guide spending within all government departments and are:

  • Healthier people and communities
  • Investing in early years and education
  • Safe and connected communities
  • Inclusive economic growth

This budget will recruit more doctors and improve access to primary healthcare; invest in pre-primary and classrooms; help people participate more fully in their communities and in the economy, and connect more young people to the workforce here in Nova Scotia.

Some of the many investments in Budget 2018-19 that will be of particular interest to residents of Chester-St. Margaret’s include:

  • $19.6 million this year, as part of a $39.6 million multi-year plan to recruit more doctors and increase access to primary healthcare
  • Introducing a new dialysis unit at South Shore Regional Hospital
  • Continuing design work for the new Community Outpatient Centre on Highway 103 at Bayers Lake
  • $5.5 million more to help more seniors stay in their homes longer, including expansion of the Caregiver Benefit Program, bringing the total contribution for home care services to $266 million
  • $16.2 million increase in the Disability Support Program to help more people with disabilities move from institutions into community living
  • $17.6 million for accelerated expansion of pre-primary education programming
  • $15.5 million to make regulated child care more accessible and affordable
  • $15.5 million for implementation of recommendations from the Commission on Inclusive Education
  • $10.0 million to implement new recommendations from the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions
  • Outlining an approach for investing $120.0 million in better rural high speed internet service
  • $60 million more for a total of $285 million in capital spending on highways, bridges and roads, which includes the repaving of Trunk 3 from Chester Basin to Chester, and $10 million  more to improve gravel roads
  • Continuation of the work to twin Highway 103 from Upper Tantallon to Ingramport

I will be holding Town Halls and Community Connections in many Chester-St. Margaret’s communities during April and May. Please watch for the dates to be announced on my website, www.hughmackay.ca and Facebook, HughMacKayMLA.

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