Funding to improve local schools, changes to student assistance to make attending St. Francis Xavier University more affordable, and highway improvements are some of the highlights for the Strait area in the provincial budget today, April 5th. “This budget invests in health care, growing the economy, helping people make ends meet, all while ensuring government lives within its means,” said Graham Steele, Minister of Finance. “We still have a difficult financial situation to address, but this budget shows that we are on target to balance in 2013, as promised.” Highlights for the Strait area in today’s budget include: investing $42.5 million to help make post-secondary education more affordable opening at least four new Collaborative Emergency Centres this year providing tax breaks, such as an increase in the basic personal amount by $250 reducing departmental spending by $170 million investing $28 million to improve business productivity providing $7.9 million to low-income families to help make ends meet. changes to student assistance that will make attending St. Francis Xavier and other Nova Scotia university more affordable for Strait-area families new nursing home beds for Port Hawksbury helping Strait’s entrepreneurs by reducing the small business tax to four per cent from 4.5 per cent, the second consecutive year it has declined continuation of existing nursing seats at St. Francis Xavier University continued and stable funding support for the Eastern Counties Regional Library and Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library systems improvements to Highway 104 at Gorman Road, replacing the South River Bridge and other local road upgrade and paving projects continued and stable funding support for local museums, such as Sherbrooke Village funding to improve local schools, including Strait Area Education and Recreation Centre. Total revenues for 2011-12, including net income from government business enterprises, are estimated at $8.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million over the 2010-11 estimates. The 2011 budget projects a deficit of $389.6 million. This is in line with the $370-million deficit anticipated in the province’s four-year fiscal plan. Total expenses for fiscal 2011-12 are budgeted at $9.3 billion, up $323.0 million from 2010-11, entirely because of reinstating university funding. Today’s budget also includes: For more information on the 2011-12 provincial budget, visit www.gov.ns.ca
The death toll from the inclement weather reached 100 this morning with at least 99 people still missing.The Disaster Management Centre said that over 200,000 people have been affected by the rain which brought floods and landslides in several areas. The Department of Meteorology said that while the rain had reduced today monsoonal showers and windy conditions will continue over the south-western part of the island.Within the past 21.00 hrs 68.2 mm of rain had been reported from Ratnapura which was the worst affected area from the floods. Fairly strong winds at times (up to 50-60 kmph) can be expected over the island. The military and Police are involved in the search and rescue operations. Due to the heavy rain the Kalu, Kelani, Gin, Nilwala and Attanagalu Oya rivers overflowed flooding the surrounding areas. Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Central and North-western provinces.Heavy falls (about 100 mm) can be expected at some places.Showers or thundershowers will occur at several places elsewhere in the afternoon (especially in the Eastern and Uva provinces).