Highlights of the 2015-16 budget in Newfoundland and Labrador presented Thursday

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Highlights of the 2015-16 Newfoundland and Labrador budget presented Thursday:

— An $8.1 billion spending plan that raises the provincial harmonized sales tax to 15 per cent from 13 per cent as of Jan. 1, 2016.

— New tax rates for the highest income earners starting July 1: 14.3 per cent of taxable income for those earning $125,001 to $175,000 and 15.3 per cent for incomes higher than $175,000.

— A deficit of almost $1.1 billion this fiscal year and a deficit of $924 million for 2014-15.

— Deficits, economic contraction and job losses are also projected for the next three fiscal years.

— The Progressive Conservative government will borrow $2 billion to cover spending on the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador, infrastructure, pension reform and various services.

— Fee hikes for everything from vehicle licences to provincial Supreme Court search fees, campsite rentals and public swimming.

— Net debt increases to $11.5 billion from $10.2 billion.