Nova Scotia moves from surplus to $853-million deficit due to pandemic

Nova Scotia flag

After tabling a budget in February forecasting a $55-million surplus, the Nova Scotia government is now looking at a deficit that has ballooned to $853 million.

Finance Minister Karen Casey says the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for the $908-million reversal in the books for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Casey says an additional $443 million in appropriations are required for nine departments, with the majority of the expenses related to protecting the public and boosting the economy during the pandemic.

That's in addition to $228 million announced last month for more than 200 "shovel ready'' infrastructure projects to help kick-start the economy.

The previous funding for highway paving, bridge replacements, green energy projects, school repairs and museum upgrades was added to an already record $1-billion capital plan.

Casey says total revenue is projected to be $11.06 billion, down $532.1 million from the budget, mainly due to decreased revenue from HST and corporate income tax, while overall expenses are projected at $12.09 billion, up $470.3 million, mainly due to increased expenses related to the COVID-19 response.