Prince Edward Island tables reduced deficit in budget ahead of HST change

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CHARLOTTETOWN - Prince Edward Island has tabled a budget that forecasts a reduced deficit as it prepares to implement the Harmonized Sales Tax next week.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan tabled a $1.6 billion budget today that projects a deficit of $58.9 million for 2013-14.

That's down $10.3 million from this fiscal year, and Sheridan says the province remains on track for a surplus in 2015-16.

The government says it plans to mostly hold the line on spending, with the exceptions of a $16 million increase for health and $4.4 million more for the Department of Community Services and Seniors.

Prince Edward Islanders will be paying about $25.8 million per year more in taxes as of April 1 as a result of the province's switch to the HST.

The change will see gas prices rise by about eight cents a litre, while smokers will pay at least an extra dollar per carton of 200 cigarettes.

The small business income tax rate will increase to 4.5 per cent from one per cent on April 1.

The net debt will top $2 billion by March 31, 2014, or about $14,000 for every Islander.

Organizations: Community Services

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, CHARLOTTETOWN

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