Highlights of the New Brunswick budget: many tax hikes, deep staff cuts

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick Finance Minister Roger Melanson tabled an $8.9 billion budget for 2016-17 on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights:

— A projected deficit of $347 million, with a projection of a balanced budget by 2020-21.

— The provincial debt will reach $13.4 billion by the end of March 2017, or $17,851 for every man, woman and child in New Brunswick.

— Increasing the Harmonized Sales Tax by two percentage points to 15 per cent from 13 percent, but a provincial credit will be provided for lower income individuals and families.

— Increase in the general corporate income tax rate to 14 per cent from 12 per cent.

— Increases in the tobacco tax as of midnight Wednesday morning and again next February.

— The number of managers in the senior service will be reduced by 30 per cent. In addition, other changes will result in a total reduction to the private sector of 1,300 positions.

— The Gagetown ferry will be eliminated, and the visitor information centres in Cape Jourimain and Campobello will be closed.